DEMYSTIFICATION AND RECONSTRUCTION OF IGBO SEXIST PROVERBS
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Abraka Humanistic Review: a Journal of the Faculty of Arts
Sexism in language refers to the use of language to derogate members of the opposite sex. Proverb is an integral part of language as it is used for human expression. It is observed that some Igbo proverbs, which are accumulations of the Igbo view about life, practical experience and beliefs held over the generations delineate women as gossips and talkative, devilish and wicked, liars, cheats and mediocre, as well as childish, selfish, unreliable and senseless. This implies that such sexist proverbs are targeted at the female folk. This work sets out to find out the reason(s) behind the negative portrayal of women in the Igbo proverbs. Through verbal interaction, data comprising thirty proverbs were collected from native speakers of the language from Idemili North and Idemili South Local Government Areas of Anambra State. The researcher relied also on her intuitive knowledge and participation in local functions in her community. The data were analysed, by the researcher adopting the Critical Discourse Analysis as the theoretical framework. It was discovered that the Igbo society is a male-dominated one. It was also discovered that the propounding of proverbs is associated with older people, especially the men. Igbo men propound the ‘wise’ sayings – proverbs – which are hardly questionable in order to legitimize their positions as head and sustain patriarchy. The work recommends the modification of sexist proverbs to reflect the new spirit of women emancipation.
Sexist Proverbs, Patriarchy, Demystification, Reconstruction, Women Emancipation.