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Rebecca N. Umeafonta

Myth of the Superior Status of the Male Gender

YEAR:

COUNTRY: Nigeria

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Title of the work

Myth of the Superior Status of the Male Gender

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Nigeria

Original Language

Igbo

Country of the Recording of the Story for the Database

Nigeria

Full Date of the Recording of the Story for the Databasey

August 13, 2018

More Details of the Recording of the Story for the Database

Umudege, Igbo-Ukwu

Genre

Myths

Target Audience

Crossover (Young adults + adults)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Eleanor Anneh Dasi, ENS Yaounde, wandasi5@yahoo.com 

Ada Muo, University of Lagos, deskola2011@yahoo.com

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Daniel Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com 

Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, elzbieta.olechowska@gmail.com

Female portrait

Rebecca N. Umeafonta (Storyteller)

Age of Narrator: 69 (in 2018)

Social status: Community leader

Profession: Headmistress (retired) 

Language of narration: Igbo


Bio prepared by Eleanor Anneh Dasi, ENS Yaounde, wandasi5@yahoo.com and Ada Muo, University of Lagos, deskola2011@yahoo.com


Origin/Cultural Background/Dating

Background: Igbo-Ukwu (see the entry)

Occasion: Staged Performance

Summary

After Chukwu Okike (Creator God) created human beings, both man and woman. He assigned an equal social status to both genders. As time went on, conflict became a constant factor in several families and societies. The problem reached God in the sky. He sent down some of his muo-ozi (angels) to the world to investigate the cause of the incessant conflict among the humans. After observing interpersonal, familial and group relationships in the world for some time, the angels discovered the root of the conflict. Most of the problem was caused by acrimony arising from the refusal of each gender to submit to the other, both in significant and insignificant matters. The angels departed and gave their report to God. A meeting was convened in the sky to find a solution to the problem. After listening to all the suggestions, God decided to select one gender as the head. The determining factors for the choice were bravery, consideration, compassion and contentment.

To determine the gender that possesses all these qualities, God gave an assignment to men and women. Each group was sent to raid a weaker tribe and bring back seven human heads. They were told that any group that performed well would become the leading class. Both groups left. After some days, the men returned happily chanting victory songs and reported that they achieved great feats as they submitted three human heads. The women also returned. However, they came back wailing and lamenting their misfortune as they presented six human heads. God decided that the male gender exhibited admirable leadership qualities by sparing more lives and expressing happiness even in seeming failure. Thus, the leadership position went to the male gender. This explains why most Igbo societies are patriarchal.

Analysis

Gender disparity and inequality has existed in many world societies since the beginning of time but how the male came about to be the superior gender has only mythical explanations from each culture. In African cultures particularly, patriarchal institutions dominate and by implication, women hold only subservient positions which they have tried, over the years, to break away from. The Igbo people, in the above myth, have tried to offer an explanation as to why the male gender dominates in society.

In a nutshell, the myth attempts to explain the patriarchal nature of the Igbo society. By associating vice with women, it gives the men an excuse to dominate them.


Further Reading

Ezeigbo, Theodora Akachi. “Traditional women's institutions in Igbo society: implications for the Igbo female writer”, African Languages and Cultures, vol. 3 (1990): 149–165. (accessed: December 28, 2020).

Nduka, Udeagha, Ozioma, Nwamah Grace. “Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and the Role of Women in Igbo Traditional Religious Culture”, Open Journal of Social Sciences, vol. 7, no. 12 (2019):  272–289. (accessed: December 28, 2020).

Ojukwu, Ebele V., Ibekwe, Eunice U. “Cultural Suppression of Female Gender in Nigeria: Implications of Igbo Females’ Songs”, Journal of Music and Dance, vol. 10, no. 1 (2020) available at https://academicjournals.org/JMD (accessed: December 28, 2020).

Addenda

Method of data collection: Note taking and tape recording

Researchers: Adaobi Muo (trans.)

Editors: Daniel Nkemleke

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Leaf pattern

Title of the work

Myth of the Superior Status of the Male Gender

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Nigeria

Original Language

Igbo

Country of the Recording of the Story for the Database

Nigeria

Full Date of the Recording of the Story for the Databasey

August 13, 2018

More Details of the Recording of the Story for the Database

Umudege, Igbo-Ukwu

Genre

Myths

Target Audience

Crossover (Young adults + adults)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Eleanor Anneh Dasi, ENS Yaounde, wandasi5@yahoo.com 

Ada Muo, University of Lagos, deskola2011@yahoo.com

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Daniel Nkemleke, University of Yaoundé 1, nkemlekedan@yahoo.com 

Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, elzbieta.olechowska@gmail.com

Female portrait

Rebecca N. Umeafonta (Storyteller)

Age of Narrator: 69 (in 2018)

Social status: Community leader

Profession: Headmistress (retired) 

Language of narration: Igbo


Bio prepared by Eleanor Anneh Dasi, ENS Yaounde, wandasi5@yahoo.com and Ada Muo, University of Lagos, deskola2011@yahoo.com


Origin/Cultural Background/Dating

Background: Igbo-Ukwu (see the entry)

Occasion: Staged Performance

Summary

After Chukwu Okike (Creator God) created human beings, both man and woman. He assigned an equal social status to both genders. As time went on, conflict became a constant factor in several families and societies. The problem reached God in the sky. He sent down some of his muo-ozi (angels) to the world to investigate the cause of the incessant conflict among the humans. After observing interpersonal, familial and group relationships in the world for some time, the angels discovered the root of the conflict. Most of the problem was caused by acrimony arising from the refusal of each gender to submit to the other, both in significant and insignificant matters. The angels departed and gave their report to God. A meeting was convened in the sky to find a solution to the problem. After listening to all the suggestions, God decided to select one gender as the head. The determining factors for the choice were bravery, consideration, compassion and contentment.

To determine the gender that possesses all these qualities, God gave an assignment to men and women. Each group was sent to raid a weaker tribe and bring back seven human heads. They were told that any group that performed well would become the leading class. Both groups left. After some days, the men returned happily chanting victory songs and reported that they achieved great feats as they submitted three human heads. The women also returned. However, they came back wailing and lamenting their misfortune as they presented six human heads. God decided that the male gender exhibited admirable leadership qualities by sparing more lives and expressing happiness even in seeming failure. Thus, the leadership position went to the male gender. This explains why most Igbo societies are patriarchal.

Analysis

Gender disparity and inequality has existed in many world societies since the beginning of time but how the male came about to be the superior gender has only mythical explanations from each culture. In African cultures particularly, patriarchal institutions dominate and by implication, women hold only subservient positions which they have tried, over the years, to break away from. The Igbo people, in the above myth, have tried to offer an explanation as to why the male gender dominates in society.

In a nutshell, the myth attempts to explain the patriarchal nature of the Igbo society. By associating vice with women, it gives the men an excuse to dominate them.


Further Reading

Ezeigbo, Theodora Akachi. “Traditional women's institutions in Igbo society: implications for the Igbo female writer”, African Languages and Cultures, vol. 3 (1990): 149–165. (accessed: December 28, 2020).

Nduka, Udeagha, Ozioma, Nwamah Grace. “Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and the Role of Women in Igbo Traditional Religious Culture”, Open Journal of Social Sciences, vol. 7, no. 12 (2019):  272–289. (accessed: December 28, 2020).

Ojukwu, Ebele V., Ibekwe, Eunice U. “Cultural Suppression of Female Gender in Nigeria: Implications of Igbo Females’ Songs”, Journal of Music and Dance, vol. 10, no. 1 (2020) available at https://academicjournals.org/JMD (accessed: December 28, 2020).

Addenda

Method of data collection: Note taking and tape recording

Researchers: Adaobi Muo (trans.)

Editors: Daniel Nkemleke

Yellow cloud