In Loud Whispers, Adeyemi-Fayemi explores culture, tradition
Title: Loud Whispers
Author: Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi
Published: Amandla Consulting, Nigeria (2017)
Loud Whispers is the recollection of a reflective social observer whose mission is to reveal the several fractures in the society and their damaging effects, and for which solutions are proffered in the book.
The book is presented in fragments tackling different aspects of culture and tradition, paying attention to their impacts on our daily living.
Apart from the narratives and incisive analyses of social and political issues of the day, this book zeroes in on patriarchy and poverty as they affect the status of women in the society.
This focus automatically draws our intellect, as members of the society constantly clamouring for social and economic progress, to the root causes of women’s disempowerment which the author, in an intelligible manner, links to the male-dominated institutions and structures such as, politics, religion, economic, culture and tradition, which tend to marginalise women in the African’ society.
For most of us who have accepted for too long the status quo of gender relations in our society, the author has taken pains to reflect on role of an instructor in Gender 101 course to explain patriarchy and its social systems, and feminism as an appropriate intellectual and active response.
While patriarchy is a system of control of all economic, political, social, cultural and religious institutions by men with a token of women drafted to ensure its stability, in the process, gender inequality is perpetrated and perpetuated.
The anti-thesis is Feminism, which is a global struggle against all forms of patriarchal oppression of women.
Feminism takes various forms such as, advocacy, education, information and communication as well as women’s empowerment programs.
While the Feminist goal, shared by a number of men who have been greater supporters of the feminist movement, is not to replace Patriarchy with Matriarchy.
It is aimed at mutual respect, rights for both males and females in the society, and opportunities that are not biased for or against any sex.
The author who has had the opportunity to direct African Women’s Development Fund believes strongly that women’s organisations should enhance women’s livelihood and raise them out of poverty, empower girls, train and support women in decision-making, political leadership and support appropriate legislations.
Besides, women should fund awareness and prevention campaigns of all forms of violence against women and basically changing attitude and behaviour, which underpin a culture of oppression.
It is advocated that women should challenge female-unfriendly cultures and traditions such as, misogyny, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, ill-treatment of widows, harmful myths and superstitions.
Given that men and women are beneficiaries and agents of development that we all clamour for, demarginalization of and appropriate feminist practices and support for women would boost our common agency and its positive returns to the nation’s development.
The author emphasises this by raising issues of better gender relationships, culture of peace and co-existence and mutual respect as the outcome of gender equality.
This is brought out vividly in the author’s figurative reference to Patrick who is patriarchal and has been able to continue in existence because he has actively recruited Patricia who is supportive of his patriarchal practices.
Patricia is empowered by Patrick to teach her sons to be strong leaders, providers, adventurous, ambitious, dominant and forceful while her daughters grow up learning to be submissive.
On the other hand, society has produced the Fredericks and Federicas who are opposed to the culture of Patrick and Patricia.
The influence of the former is growing to a predictive extent that would overwhelm the Patricks and Patricias and overturn patriarchy and establish a more equalitarian society.