n Gender and Behaviour - Masculine women feminine men : power relations in two Nigerian plays by women




The word Masculine is traditionally associated with a manly character. In its original sense, it projects the idea of ruggedness, courage and physical strength. In ancient patriarchal societies, masculine images projected a male-dominated work environment in which the man was a farmer, hunter and soldier or engaged in any other daunting task that masculinity entails. Within the Nigerian drama discourse, which by the way has been dominated by men for a very long time, the construction of power and the signification of characters has always involved the projection of men as rugged and masculine while women are on the other hand imaged as weak and feminine. However, the word masculine has come to be associated recently not just with men. This has become very evident in emergent works of women playwrights who have imbued their female characters with masculine features. These female characters exhibit strong aggressive attitudes. This paper explores these masculine projections of women in selected Nigerian drama especially by women. It concludes by suggesting that both masculinity and femininity are not strictly biological endowments but is more of gender construction.


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