“Gender inequality is tantamount to violation of human rights”. Write an essay in support of the assertion drawing your illustrations from Blossoms of the Savannah.
Today’s position on the male and female gender is that men and women are equal and none of the gender should dominate over the other. In Blossoms of the Savannah, women are culturally forced to be subservient to men, a practice that denies them some fundamental rights as human beings.
A wife has the right to state her position on any matter even if it is contrary to the husband’s position. This is not the case with Mama Milanoi, wife to Ole Kaelo. She admits that she did not know which man her husband was doing business with and even if she did, she would not do anything about it for he was the one who carried the family’s vision. She thus leaves every aspect of decision making to him whether those decisions are good or bad.
A woman is a being to be loved and not to love back. Although Ole Kaelo genuinely loved Mama Milanoi when he saw her first, her feelings for him are immaterial. Women were not expected to resist a man’s advances according to Nasilian culture. This is a great violation of her right to love or hate. In her case there is no room for that. It is also expected that Resian should give in to Oloisudori’s plans to marry her. Refusal is regarded as stubbornness. In fact, Oloisudori claims that none of his wives put any resistance in his interest in them. This means that their feeling for him did not matter a great violation of their freedom to choose their marriage partner.
Resian and Taiyo are forced to undergo cultural coaching by Joseph Parmuat. Resian rebels this citing inequality in the plan. She opines that if they were boys, such a thing would not be done on them. Instead they would be freely roaming Nasila with nobody bothering them. In their case, there is no such option simply because they are girls. Their right to choose what to do and not to learn is violated. Girls are taught how to cook for their men but there are no lessons for boys on how to please women. Resian opposes such arrangements saying she would not be taught to solely please men. She claims that even boys should be taught how to please women.
Gender inequality in this society elevates man over the woman to the extent that Resian says that it made men assume that they had right over the body of any woman. This has reduced women to be objects of sex to be exploited by men at will. This practice started with the Ilarinkon warriors who sexually exploited women after arousing their desires. Taiyo and Resian undergo several rape attempts with Resian ending up almost being raped by Olarinkoi who assumes he has every right over her body. These inequalities have greatly undermined women’s right to privacy and to choose whom to have sexual relation with.
Gender inequality does not just stop at that. Instead, it is a major cause of violation of basic human rights that all should be accorded a chance to enjoy. Women in the novel have most of their rights curtailed as a result of gender imbalance between man and women.
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Blossoms of the Savannah excerpts
SYNOPSIS OF BLOSSOMS OF THE SAVANNAH