Nigerian women are known to be lovers of fashion from time immemorial. They wear certain clothes, jewelries and make their hair so as to beautify themselves and make them have the woman look. Tattoos, use of cowries shell and beads as jewelries are common among the women in the olden days. There are different ways women express their fashion taste in the olden days. Most of these practices are still in vogue today. This signifies that women’ fashion is rooted in the culture and not a new thing.
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Masquerade is defined as a party or group of people with masks. In Nigeria, masquerades appear during festivals, ceremonies or rituals. They dance, sing and recite incantations. Majority of the masquerades are youths with strength to make dance moves and jumps. Some performs unexplainable actions like somersaulting, bringing out fire from the mouths. They are mostly known to flog people. This act is rooted in the culture and a cultural heritage practiced by the tribes in Nigeria. Masquerades are different from each other in terms of functions, structures and festivals.
Nigeria is a country in West Africa with three distinct tribes- Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa. The Yoruba people occupy majorly the South Western parts of the country but can also be found, although in small population in other parts of the country. These three tribes have different views on sexuality and virginity, although there is a possibility of two cultures with similar views. The tradition of Virginity among young Yoruba women before marriage is known as “Asa Ibale” in the Yoruba Kingdom. This tradition is no longer practiced today because it has been eroded by colonialisation. A virgin is someone who has never had sexual intercourse or sexual activity.
Sacrifices and rituals used to be founded in traditional religion. Literally, sacrifice is an act where a gift is being giving to a person to show appreciation and to expect something greater. Sacrifice, in this context is an act of offering or giving a gift to a deity, a god or to a supernatural being as a form of religious purpose. This serves as a form of prayer to seek forgiveness, blessing, harvest, protection or to cleanse the land if any atrocity was committed. Sacrifices offered could be in form of food items, material gifts, animal or man.
Children are known to be the products of a successful marriage. In Nigeria, a woman is expected to take in and become pregnant immediately after her wedding ceremony. Her stomach is being studied and monitored by people, hoping to see a round shape. The coming of a child brings bundles of joy and happiness to the parents and family members. In some culture, the number of children determines the level of respect people will give her. A woman with no child is likened to a barren woman. A man with a barren wife is always advised to take up another woman or a concubine, who will produce children for him.
The subordination of women is not news; it is common in all cultures, regions, towns and states. Gender inequality can be seen in all areas of life and among people in different walks of life. The Rich subordinate women, likewise the poor. Both the young and old men subjugate women. The illiterates and literates also oppress women. Since there are various areas where we can study the oppression of women, this article will focus more on how women are being oppressed in Nigeria culture. The way our culture is designed oppresses women, whether consciously or unconsciously. The creation of some rules, norms and traditions do not favour women.
Culture is generally known as the total way of life, the ideas, customs and expected behavior of people in a society. Culture encompasses all aspect of an individual’s life such as the dressing, value, music, art, artifact, language, food, attitude, experience, knowledge, belief, norm, moral. religion that are shared by members of a society. The word “culture” was coined by an Anthropologist named E.B Taylor and he defined it as “a complex whole which include knowledge, belief, art, morals, customs and all other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of the society”.