Sitting on a man: Difference between revisions
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Sitting on a man (edit)
Revision as of 05:34, 25 November 2019
Edited the Effects area of the aritcle so that it included more infomation of the missionary influence on the Igbo people and how that manifested for Igbo women who wanted to use the pracitce of Sitting on a Man and the reasons in whihc the act had been outlawed and what that meant for women in the Igbo group over all
"'''Sitting on a man'''" is a method employed by [[Igbo people|Igbo]] women of [[public humiliation|publicly shaming]] a man by convening upon his hut or workplace; women may dance, sing songs detailing grievances with his behavior, beat on the walls of his home with yam pestles, or, occasionally, tear the roof from his home.<ref name="CJAS" />
The practice is also referred to as "making war on" a man and may bemaybe employed against women as well.<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> "Sitting on a man", along with strikes and various other resistance methods, ultimately functioned as a tool for women to maintain balance of both social and political power throughout pre-colonial times; however, this status would be negatively impacted by colonialism.<ref name="CJAS" />
== History ==
The Igbo political system was built on collectivism. They did not distribute power by force amongst one another. In the Igbo community, they did not believe in authority or power being specialized within their political institution. Because of their scattered community, it was easier for them to work as a union on political matters they faced within the village. Igbo tradition was to have village assemblies where they would discuss concerns and mutually agree on decisions for solutions. Factors that played into choosing leaders within their political system were candidates who lived in good faith, generous, and intellectual speakers (persuasive and influential speech). Men and women were both able to be leaders, however, women were at a disadvantage to men because of their patrilineage. Women could achieve status through her own accomplishments even though men were able to gain resources easily. Also, they were able to advance in their rankings amongst other women, whereas men instantly developed status from birth. Even though it was rare for most women to obtain prestige, there was no official limitation of power on women.
There were multiple reasons a man could be subjected to the practice of "sitting on a man". If a man was found mistreating his wife, allowing his cows to eat the women's crops, breaking the rules of the market, or causing marital disputes, women would collectively consult with the mikiri (a forum which gave women the opportunity to gather for political, kinship, and market regulation issues) and if it gave support to the woman making the grievance, and they would employ the practice.<ref name="CJAS">{{cite journal|date=1972|title="Sitting on a Man": Colonialism and the Lost Political Institutions of Igbo Women|url=http://www.artsrn.ualberta.ca/amcdouga/Hist247/winter%202010/additional%20rdgs/sitting_on_man.pdf|journal=Canadian Journal of African Studies|volume=6|issue=2|pages=165–181|last1=Van Allen|first1=Judith}}</ref> 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> Such a display of solidarity among women reinforced their influential role in society, offered access to autonomy throughout precolonial​pre-colonial times, and lent itself as an effective measure to enact change.<ref name=":0">{{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>
== Colonialism ==
=== Effects ===
During Precolonial times Igbo women held significant social and political standings while still second to men, this allowed them to engage and influence the politics of their village in some shape or form. During colonization, however, the idea of excluding women from political settings and activities, despite resistance, grew among the Igbo people. The missionaries who had come to the region had begun to change the role of women in the Igbo society as their purpose was to train the women to be good Christian Wives and Mothers first and foremost. These Christian values also prohibited the use of Pagan rituals which included the ''Mikiri,'' taking away the one way in which Igbo women would traditionally engage in Politics and created a form of invisibility that denied them anyway to air their grievances. Politics were seen as Men's realm and any woman who could engage was seen as having the "brain of a man" which was very rare. Schooling became a huge part of Igbo life as well as necessary for a political career and unfortunately for most young girls they were often overlooked in favor of the boys in the family, and those that did go were not given the same education as their male counterparts. Instead of being taught anything that could further a career in politics, they were taught European domestic skills and the [[Bible]]. The missionaries were not against women in politics as many supported women's suffrage, but in Africa, the church was the biggest priority was creating Christian Families which did not prioritize women politicians at the time.
IgboBy womenaltering held significantthe social and political standings (while still second to men), colonial imposition excluded women from​institutions​political settings and activities, despite resistance, this alteration in social institutionsit negatively affected women's rights and status in society by de-legitimizing their means of influence. This was done through the outlawing of the practice of "sitting on a man" in the new [[Southern Nigeria Protectorate|British Administration]]. The criminalization of the tacticMikiri was not necessarily deliberate, as colonists were naïve of the functions and implications of the practice​,​nevertheless​as throughthey were socialized with a Victorian ideology that had no place for women to engage in politics. Unfortunately, by disturbing women's means of balancing power, colonialism detrimentally effectedaffected Igbo gender relations and societal structures. Women no longer had the ability to affect the way that trade was preformed or even defend themselves against any form of abuse enacted from the men of their villages. This left many Igbo women in a vulnerable state of subservience and created a society where their traditional roles had come undone.<ref name=":0" /><br />
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