GENDER ISSUES IN CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE’S PURPLE HIBISCUS AND NAWAL EL SAADAVIS WOMAN AT POINT ZERO
1.1 Background of the study
Woman plays such a vital role of nurturing the future generations, but the irony is that woman is mostly degraded and dominated on the basis of gender. Feminism which is one of the most burning topics across the world is still not achieved yet. Feminism in a layman language is giving equal rights and status to the women. Unfortunately, women across the world are deprived of their basic rights. The woman is always considered as a “Secondary Sex”. The fight for women rights is not a new thing and women have been fighting for it from a very long time and it continues even today. The actual wave of feminism is considered to be started by two key philosopher viz. Mary Wollstone Craft and John Stuart Mill in the late 19th and the early 20th century. But the term feminism was used first by a socialist Charles Fourier in the 19th century. Mary Wollstone craft is often considered as the mother of feminism. She is in her book entitled A Vindication of the Rights of Women argues that women’s education is one of the fundamental requirements of the world. She insisted that women are not merely the wives but instead they help in the building of the nation as they are the companions to their husbands. According to Mary Wollstone Craft, women should be given equal rights and status as they are not only the ornaments or a commodity that is to be traded in the marriage but instead a very important part of the society. And her main focus was to aware women about the education so that they should be well aware of their rights.
Elaine Showalter, an American feminist traced the history of feminism and divided it into three phases. She called the first phase ‘the mute phase’ or the feminine phase (1840-1880) where the women were mute only and fight only for the basic rights. The second phase (1880-1920) is called ‘the protest phase’ of the feminist phase, which was more aggressive and the women in this phase fought for suffragettes. They demanded the right to vote so that their voices should also be heard. The last phase (1920-till now) is the phase of self-discovery. This phase demanded self-autonomy.