Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of English
This project features two parts: a critical portion discussing the feminism landscape in Nigeria, and a creative portion—a work of fiction titled “Glued together”. This abstract only concerns the critical aspect of the work, to which the creative part will only be tangentially related. In Nigeria, the largest country in Africa sited in the Sub-Saharan hemisphere, the very mention of the word, feminism is anathema. There is a lot of resentment towards, and pushback against the very idea. This lack of trust can be linked to certain voiced concerns that feminism is some “white man’s invention from the west” to disarticulate African culture and tradition; and in extreme cases, poised to “inspire our women to hate men, forget themselves and turn them all into lesbians.” These are all sentiments that are freely and frequently expressed in face to face and online engagements. The word and its objectives have been so demonized that even women who clearly hold feminist ideals and principles are loathe to associate with them. But in the work towards positioning feminism as the ideal towards and egalitarian society, it is necessary that the term as well as the ideas behind the concept be accepted and normalized. And in order for this to happen, it is important to understand what has led to this antagonism. This is a phenomenon I have been intrigued by and have sought to understand why there seems to be a lack of coherence between the word, and what it really represents. Almost all men and women who decry the term claim to, however, believe in the concept of equality and human rights. It therefore appears that it is the word and/or what it has come to connote that is problematic and perhaps not so much the concept of gender equality, at least to the extent that it is acceptable in a unique society such as Nigeria. But what does gender equality mean in a multicultural and multiethnic nation like Nigeria? And what is it about the framing of feminism that makes it so disagreeable within the existing cultural context? How does mainstream feminism and its goals, objectives and dictates fare within other more traditional cultural landscapes? This research attempts to do the following: 1) Articulate the challenges of the realization of women’s rights in relation to the concept of cultural relativism in Nigeria. In doing this, I will examine the meaning of culture, how it functions and lends itself to misconstruction within a traditional hierarchy and patriarchy that intervenes in the realization of women’s rights. 2) Visualize how the idea of third space can be engaged in the feminism discourse by first deconstructing what is even referred to as culture; and then reframing culture and the corresponding expectations. This could be a gateway to breaking out of the restrictions of culturally-imposed colonial structures and restrictions, and as a result, broaden the scope of feminism in Nigeria without it leading to an assumed or perceived loss of culture.
Osibu, Pearl, "The Challenges of Navigating Feminism in Nigeria: a Case for Third Space Feminism" (2022). Theses and Dissertations. 1610.