The Female Lens

World Culture TreeAmericanah is an important book to read because of the cultural ideas it brings forth that seldom are talked or thought about in our society. I am glad we are reading it because most kids, specifically white kids,  would not pick these books up and read them on their own. Reading books like Things Fall Apart, Ceremony, and Americanah teach us to see the world a little differently. Reading books like these helped me realize and understand the racism ingrained in society, culture appropriation, and white privilege. Seeing the world through another culture’s lens is important to understanding the ways in which people live, exposing our flawed, one-sided views of the world. Not only is this book great in showing us the world through an African’s view, it is from a female’s perspective (and a female author).

Since Americanah is from a female’s perspective, the point of view is shown from a minority in race and gender. This is a viewpoint we seldom see in American schools. We too often learn about history from the white man’s perspective, but never from a woman, person of color, or woman of color’s view. Before we even began reading this book I knew I would love it.

Even in America, women are offered lesser jobs, pay and opportunities. The wage gap is up to sexism as women are offered, on average, 21 cents less per dollar than men, still assuming they have the same education and experience.

SHEVA-Women-in-power-Unite

In Americanah, the relationship between Curt and Ifemelu and the relationship between Aunty Uju and the general exemplify the outdated concept of the man taking care of the woman in many(and all) relationships. Both of the women lose their independence this way, stripping from themselves an important characteristic that has traveled with them throughout their life. This brings along the question “Why would you turn down free stuff?” because if I was in their situations I can’t say I would. I would definitely have a problem with it though, if it was because I’m a woman. It is difficult to distinguish the line between sexism and receiving aid from someone else. Due to their hardships, these relationships give them a sense of security, which I can understand. I don’t know how Curt and Ifemelu’s relationship ends, but my guess is Ifemelu realizes she doesn’t need him and leaves.

Understanding the basics of sexism and misogyny in the world today and in the past is important for comprehending any literature or art from a woman’s narrative. The various books we have read have also given us a view of the roles of women in other cultures. Women in other cultures seem to be more respected than in America. They own the social inequalities.

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To wrap up this post, sexism is very relevant in our society and it is important to view it from a woman’s perspective. Americanah is a great book to give us this persepctive, especially through the characters Ifemelu and Aunty Uju.

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One thought on “The Female Lens

  1. One of the things I noticed within this section that showed the sexism within our society was how Curt reacted to her cheating. Curt becomes enraged almost immediately and resorts to calling her a “bitch” and saying “How could you do this to me?” (357). However, almost exactly 100 pages earlier he was claiming that “She meant nothing to me” (259). Why couldn’t he understand where she came from when she made a mistake? Society has ingrained the idea that men flirting is rather normal but the second a woman makes the same mistake she is condemned as a “whore” or “bitch.” Americanah helps to show the hypocrisy of these situations. These double standards are so absurd, but rarely pointed out in male-centric novels. The breakdown of these societal norms can only come from a greater appreciation of women’s perspectives in novels and in society as well.

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