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Revision as of 05:44, 5 February 2017
I have added more details about how women support one another when they are about to "sit" on a man
"'''Sitting on a man'''" is a traditional method of [[Igbo people|Igbo]] women to challenge male authority. "Sitting" consists of publicly shaming a man by convening upon his hut or workplace, dancing, and singing songs detailing grievances with his behaviour. It is also referred to as "making war on" a man and may be employed against women as well. Women participating in the "sitting" will beat on the walls of the man's hut with yam pestles and, in rare cases, tear the roof off of his hut.<ref>{{cite book|last1=Van Allen|first1=Judith|title=Women in Africa: Studies in Social and Economic Change|date=1976|publisher=Stanford University Press|isbn=978-0-8047-6624-1|pages=61–62|url=https://books.google.com/books?id=pWffQVU85ccC&lpg=PA61&dq=%22sitting%20on%20a%20man%22&pg=PA61#v=onepage&q&f=false|chapter='Aba Riots' or Igbo 'Women's War'? Ideology, Stratification and the Invisibility of Women}}</ref>
Alongside strikes and boycotts, sitting on a man was a key tool for women to maintain a balance of power in pre-colonial Igbo cultures.<ref name="CJAS">{{cite journal|last1=Van Allen|first1=Judith|title="Sitting on a Man": Colonialism and the Lost Political Institutions of Igbo Women|journal=Canadian Journal of African Studies|date=1972|volume=6|issue=2|pages=165–181|url=http://www.artsrn.ualberta.ca/amcdouga/Hist247/winter%202010/additional%20rdgs/sitting_on_man.pdf}}</ref> A man could be singled out for mistreating his wife, allowing his cows eat the women's crops, or breaking the rules of the market.<ref name="CJAS"/> If most women in the village agreed that the man was at fault, they would collectively support the woman making the grievances. The women would wear ferns on their heads and don loincloths. They would paint their faces with charcoal and carry sticks wreathed with palm fronds.<ref>{{cite book|last1=French|first1=Marilyn|title=From Eve to Dawn: Revolutions and the struggles for justice in the 20th century|date=2008|publisher=Feminist Press at CUNY|location=New York|isbn=978-1-55861-628-8|page=287|url=https://books.google.com/books?id=Hyr9pwbqeqoC&lpg=PA287&dq=%22sitting%20on%20a%20man%22&pg=PA287#v=onepage&q&f=false}}</ref> In instances where "sitting" was used as a tactic to mediate disputes in a marriage and to reprimand the man for his wrongdoings to his wife, women first consulted with the ''mikiri;'' if the man was found to be responsible for the wrongdoings alleged by the wife, the women would then commence their tactic for holding him accountable by "sitting" on him.<ref>{{Cite book|title="Sitting On A Man":Colonialism and the Lost Political Institutions of Igbo Women|last=Judith|first=Allen|publisher=Canadian Association of African Studies|year=|isbn=|location=|pages=171|quote=|via=}}</ref>
In 1929, women in [[British Nigeria]] organized an anti-colonial protests to redress grievances that came to be known as the [[Women's War]].<ref>{{cite book|last1=Sheldon|first1=Kathleen|title=Historical Dictionary of Women in Sub-Saharan Africa|date=2005|publisher=Scarecrow Press|location=Lanham (Maryland)|isbn=978-0-8108-5331-7|page=228|url=https://books.google.com/books?id=36BViNOAu3sC&lpg=PA228&dq=%22sitting%20on%20a%20man%22%20igbo&pg=PA228#v=onepage&q&f=false|chapter=Sitting on a Man}}</ref> "Sitting" on the Warrant Chiefs was a major tactic used in the protests. Along with singing and dancing around the houses and offices of the Warrant Chiefs, the women would follow their every move, invading their space and forcing the men to pay attention. The wives of the Warrant Chiefs were often disturbed and they too put pressure on the Warrants to listen to the demands of the women. This tactic of "sitting on the Warrants," i.e. following them everywhere and anywhere, was very popular with the women in Nigeria, and used to great effect.
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