Discuss about the Exclusion and Essentialism in Feminist Theory.
As the sun rises on a chilly Monday morning I slowly open my eyes, from the top of the window of our small kitchen I could see the yellow coloration brought by the impending sunrise. Then from a distance I heard the footsteps, their meaning was just obvious I was late again. I hurriedly woke up from the skeleton bamboo bed throwing her bedsheet into the nearby chair. One step towards the door and a cruel knock rocked the air it was followed by a harsh voice. “bed time is over go prepare your siblings for school (Scott, 2008).
My mother a short brown woman with a very polite face, was known as one very generous woman by the community this though contradicts what she has been to me her obedience to the culture of Makonde of Niger was overwhelming. To this effect, she was like father’s tool always ready to implement the new rules imposed into the house by the big man. My eyes swiftly looked at my brothers’ bed on the other corner of the house and could not miss the two bodies coiled together, she quickly rushed to them and shake them awake with vigor David a grade 6 boy was the fast to open his eyes and was soon on his feet. Ceaser though needed a little more persuasion being just in grade four he was not used to waking up that early especially after a long weekend ( Collins English Dictionary, 2013).
By 07:00 the two boys were ready and I packed their lunch and wave them well by for school afterward I rushed to the kitchen to pick a hoe. To me, it was now time to go accompany mother in the firm. I had initially graduated from the Junior school and was supposed to join the senior level three months ago. As much as I was trying to forget the events it was too early to erase the entire situation from the mind. The evening I had received my results I was too overwhelmed one of the best schools had accepted my request to join them for the senior levels based on the high marks I managed in the final junior national examination (Davis, 2008).
On reaching home with the news father’s facial expression immediately was enough to put off all my aspirations. “Janet, you know our financial situation we are a mere peasant farmer, how do you expect us to throw away $2000 per year for 4 years, why should you just seek a husband and spare us the losses”. The words come out slowly but their wait could not be underestimated as they slowly sink in on my head all my life dreams and hopes slowly faded (Crenshaw, 1991).
Miriam Janet’s mum form her association with other village women despite knowing very well that the government have intensified the quest for girl child education through provision of bursaries did not bother correct her husband, no, that will be disrespect she was required to obey by their culture and that was final after all he had already told her they were saving for the education of their two youth boys and that was enough reason to cut down unnecessary expenditure. My education funds seemed to have perfectly fitted in that category (DiQuinzio, 1993).
It took me only 10 minutes to reach the tomato farm and join mother in picking the ripe ones as we wait for father’s pickup to come ferry them to the local market. With my little knowledge in business I could gauze that the farm though small scale could generate up to $1000 per week, but for this to happen we needed to start marketing the product in Vangu the nearby town. Being a girl, I had to keep all the thoughts to myself, after all, I only had to learn how to make meals and clean the house as we await a suitor who will meet father’s requirements (de Beauvoir, 1973).
After working for 2 hours continuously I tried engaging my mother even though a non-tolerant woman I had a feeling at a point she will reason with me. At first, this was hard being an illiterate woman she understood very few things when it comes to education and business prosperity. As I struggled to explain the points she took them in one by one and they were soon on the same side. On that evening, I sat silently outside the entrance to our main house as I await the supper which was prepared in the kitchen. From I distance I could hear mother trying to persuade father regarding my points. All sudden I become hopeful but this was before father final response. He was not going to try any stupid idea from the women as he had enough know-how on how to run his firm’s business. girl child education had no place in their cultural history neither was he going to try being the lady’s hero (DiQuinzio, 1993).
In this vignette, I have focused on the gendered frontiers where the burden of gaining formal education to the girl child is expressed. The native African society is giving no value for the girl child education. In the scenario, my possession of basic skills in business was not worth the opportunity to pursue the course further. The Makonde culture of Niger is more concerned by the boy child to the extent that father is ready to save for the young boys rather than push for my education.
I have indicated the intersectionality by the vague role that the women play in running their families, my mother is a reluctance to argue against her husband. Even though she has knowledge of government sponsorship of girl child education she accepts my new role as a mere gardener.
The frontier is important to consider expressing the burden of culture in the progress of a girl child. Many developed countries have gained a lot from the educated females in the society therefore for the developing African nations to gain economic progress they will need to gain from the women as well. The importance of women literacy is clear and need to be invested in by first fighting the poor cultures (Mernissi, 1994).
Collins English Dictionary. (2013). Complete & Unabridged . HarperCollins Publishers.
Crenshaw, K. W. (1991). Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color. Stanford Law Review.
Davis, K. (2008). Intersectionality as buzzword: A sociology of science perspective on what makes a feminist theory successful. Feminist Theory, 60-81.
de Beauvoir, S. (1973). The Second Sex. New York: Vintage Books.
DeFrancisco, V. P., & Palczewski, C. H. (2014). Gender in Communication. Thousand Oaks. California: Sage.
DiQuinzio, P. (1993). Exclusion and Essentialism in Feminist Theory: The Problem of Mothering". Hypatia.
Mernissi, F. (1994). Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood. Morocco: Perseus Books.
Scott, J. W. (2008). Transfeminism and the Future of Gender". Women's Studies on the Edge. Duke University Press.