Ideal vs. prejudiced womanhood: The concept of decent woman in reference to Nervous Condition of Tsitsi Dangarembga
Womanhood has been a complex concept as compared to woman. As human being we have been a part society, community where we have been stratified as per our roles. The hitch between female and male based upon their roles has been common and along with the external fights this internal fight of sexes has been a matter of everyday. Feminism as a movement has been originated long ago and simultaneously successful in rendering woman her position. When Tsitsi Dangarembga speaks of the condition of Zimbabwean women, she makes Tambu as the mouth-piece, who sees her mother and many other women who have been crushed under the burden of womanhood. The male members with their own ideas have shown their unwarranted biasness in the disguise of a husband, father and son. In Tambu's house, the family patriarch Babamukuru controls everything. His wife Magiuru though seldom resents his influence and power but goes through the internal anguish while his daughter Nyasha as a person is filled with contradictions who feels resentment as the only means. In Nervous Condition, these women are trapped because they are born as woman. Their sex determines their roles, behavior, what profession they should go for, which school they should opt and even whether they should be allowed to go to school. Tambu is allowed to go to school only after the death of her brother. In case of Nyasha, her father Babamukuru is a misogynist, who has a lot of contempt and prejudice for women. He is exposed to foreign culture as he has been to England but he still adheres to his own traditionalist ideas. Though his wife has a master degree, but he feels a woman is incomplete without her domestic chores, loyalty and obedience towards her husband. The condition is apprehensive where the women witness the reluctance of the society to see them in a new position. Those who are trapped like Tambu’s mother and Maiguru believe that their status is predetermined. But when it comes to the free-willed Nyasha, Tambu and Lucia they have different opinions. They choose their own paths to keep themselves away from the trap of womanhood. These assumptions of womanhood are more gender biased than being related to biology. So, these are less predestined and more designed.
Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York and
London: Routledge, 1990. Print.
Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. New York and London: W. W Norton and Company,
Lerner, Gerda. The Creation of Patriarchy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Print
Mies, Maria. Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale. London and New York: Zeds
Books Ltd, 1998. Print.
Walby, Sylvia. Theorizing Patriarchy. UK: Basil Blackwell Ltd, 1991. Print.
Williams, Tara. Inventing Womanhood: Gender and Language in Later Middle English
Writing. USA: The Ohio State University Press, 2001. Print.