Essay on How Aiddo Treats Feminism in 'Changes'

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University of Richmond
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Feminism can be described as the belief that men and women are equal and there is no difference in their intellectual thinking capacity. Feminism in its definition shows that it should be upheld by everyone in the society and not a fight for women or activists only. It aims at ensuring that bias does not exist based on the gender of the individuals in workplace, family and even in public places. Ama Ata Aiddo in her love story book, changes shows the struggles of upholding feminism in the African postcolonial periods as well as the rest of the world. In the story, she shows different treatment of feminism as discussed in the paper. The paper describes how Aiddo treats feminism through the main character, Esi and other minor characters.

First, Aiddo treats feminism as a struggle for few individuals because most people in the society not accepting it. Esi the main character is a married woman who is educated and has a well-paying government job. As part of her employment benefits, she is given a house which she stays with her husband, Oko. The husband feels that he is the man and he should be given more time in marriage and Esi should reduce her commitment to her job. He does not accept the fact that the wife is employed and has many responsibilities in her employment. He believes he is the one who should decide when they should have children and how many, but not a matter that should be discussed. The expectation and the belief of Oko make him have sex with her wife by force. The forced sex makes Esi to decide to have a divorce. On bringing the idea of divorce to her relatives and parents, they do not understand her. They believe it is the responsibility of a woman to dedicate all her time to a man without questioning. Her mother even sees her as a lucky person with the perfect husband who wants her whole self and to spend every time with her. The belief that Esi has the best husband shows that feminism is accepted by very few people and faces resistance from most people in the society. Oko in his efforts to convince Esi to give him more children is inspired by the pressure from other people in the society who laugh at him and see as if he has failed in controlling her wife. According to Oko, other women have given their husbands many children while they only have one daughter. He sees it as unacceptable and wants at least a baby boy. The preference of a specific gender of a child in the society shows that feminism is still not upheld. Oko facing pressure from other people in the community shows the resistance of feminism in the society. The society seeing women as less being and they are not expected to do some things such as driving because it is seen as mens job. A taxi driver targets Esi while on the road as if she should not drive with obscene chants, and even men at work see that she should carry out some secretarial duties especially when the secretary is not around.

Second, feminism in the story is treated as if it makes sense to few educated people. The story shows the few who have accepted and embraced it as educated people. Though they have accepted it, they do not show full appreciation of feminism. Esi acts as the front-runner in the ensuring that Feminism is upheld. She struggles to be free from masculine treatments by leaving her husband and ensuring that she can make decisions without being viewed as a woman. The few people who seem to accept the divorce in efforts of running away from male chauvinism is Ali and Opokuya. Ali is an educated man who has several degrees while Opokuya is a nurse and a close female friend of Esi. Ali admires the desire of Esi to become free and make a decision as a woman as men do. He also shows some elements of respecting his wife when he does not want to hurt her for her commitment to leaving her career as a teacher to bring up their children. He accepts that his wife has done a lot to sacrifice for him to have education something that shows he accepts feminism.

Aiddo treats feminism as something that no one in the society sees as fully achievable. The leading person in fighting for feminism is Esi in the book. She does a lot to ensure she can make decisions individually like men, but at most times she undermines he efforts by accepting men to have the upper hand in her life. First, after leaving her marriage, she agrees to be married to Ali as a second wife knowing that he is a married man. She wants to ensure as someones wife she will not have many responsibilities because most of them are expected to be done by the first wife. Her aim shows that she believes men are superior and a lot should be done to them by women. Though she ensures that she is not the one doing it, it is clear she does not believe both men and women can are equals.

Feminisms main barrier in Africa is the culture and the traditional set up of women place. Aiddo treats feminism as if the culture undermines it because of the expectations of the community at large to the women. For example, Opokuya does not win in arguments with her husband because she is a woman and it is expected that men should always win to be leaders of the family. Oko in his dispute with Esi, he claims that she does not respect him and submit to him as the man of the family. In the end, Aiddo describes a scene that looks like the Esi gave up on fight for true feminism because she longs for the protection of a man in a family. She decides to take advantage of the culture to secure her freedom and earn some form of equality but at the expense of another woman. The culture does not allow her to be an entirely feminist and also a person who cares for others and ensure that equality for all.

In the book story book, changes Aiddo treats feminism in different ways using various characters. In her treatment of feminism, she sees the culture of the society as a significant factor influencing the ways it is viewed and taken. For example, feminism is not widely accepted in the story and faces resistance from both men and women. Esi faces sexual harassment from her husband, but most people see it as usual, and she faces some criticism. Also, Aiddo treats feminism as something that may be wholly unachievable through her main character, Esi in that she had to look for ways to take advantage of the cultural loopholes to achieve some independence from men.

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