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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A discursive representation of women in sample proverbs from Ethiopia, Sudan, and Kenya
Author:Hussein, Jeylan WolyieISNI
Year:2009
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Volume:40
Issue:3
Pages:96-108
Language:English
Geographic terms:Ethiopia
Kenya
Sudan
Subjects:proverbs
gender discrimination
gender inequality
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/research_in_african_literatures/v040/40.3.hussein.pdf
Abstract:As humans, we make a phenomenological interpretation of our everyday existence through discourse, a construct that mediates our way of being in the world (Foucault). In Africa, proverbs are used to do this. This paper discusses how gendered ideology is discursively framed in some sexist proverbs selected from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Sudan. The paper shows that there are strong intertextual and intercultural threads between the ways proverbs represent the roles, statuses, and identity of women in these countries. It suggests that in asymmetrically structured societies, linguistic resources are systematically used to perpetuate inequality. All of the selected proverbs directly or indirectly show that the cultural stereotypes about man and manhood form the base for the discursive construction and reconstruction of gender, to weigh the strength of women's thoughts and practices, and to fix their positions in the society. The fact that there are proverbs of similar or related meaning across the three countries reveals the existence of what the author calls 'simultaneity and connectivity' in the patriarchal world view. Discouraging sexist proverbs is a step towards improving the unhappy conditions of women in Africa. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]
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