Women and Nationalism: More of the Same

Both male and female authors of postcolonial texts recognize that liberation of colonial territories from the direct political rule of the U. K. has rarely done much for women. Nationalism and liberation have have not done much, in other words, to liberate women. As Anne McClintock points out,

Male nationalists frequently argue that colonialism or capitalism has been women's ruin, with patriarchy merely a nasty second cousin destined to wither away when the real villain expires. Yet nowhere has a national or socialist revolution brought a full feminist revolution in its train. In many nationalist or socialist countries, women's concerns are at best paid lip service, at worst greeted with hilarity. If women have come to do men's work, men have not come to share women's work. Nowhere has feminism in its own right been allowed to be more than the maidservant to nationalism. [Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Context, N. Y.: Routledge, 1995, 5.]

Do men and women authors in Africa treat the lives, oppression, or empowerment of women differently? What work by a male author, other than Achebe's Anthills of the Savannah, emphasizes the need to better the lives -- and political power -- of women?

Do treatments of women's lives in literature from India and Australia have much in common with those by African authors?

Postcolonial OV discourseov Nationalism Gender Matters Bibliography

Last modified: 8 April, 2002