Female Self-Definition and Determination in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s She No Longer Weeps
John Ebimobowei Yeseibo, Ph.D.

Women, for centuries, across space and time and from culture to culture, have been consistently treated with ambivalence, misogyny and subordination. They have suffered denigration and subjugation in virtually all cultures where man is the carrier. In a patriarchal culture, men define the female just as they define nearly everything else. All male-identified ideals of women are premised on the basic assumption that women are and ought to be completely defined and understood within their biological capacities, sexual and reproductive. This paper analyzes Tsitsi Dangarembga‟s She No Longer Weeps, where the playwright interrogates patriarchal paradigms which conspire to hemline women. The play forcefully harks back Marsha Norman‟s Getting Out, where the overarching theme is a woman‟s struggle for self-definition and determination in the face of powerful patriarchal forces. In Dangarembga‟s play, the protagonist, Martha the feminist persona is imbued with self-assertiveness, self-definition and determination who defies patriarchal values and beliefs which conspire to hemline her female gender. She boldly refuses to be cocooned in the maelstrom of patriarchy in a culture which valorizes male sexual potency as social potency. In the end, she repudiates her womanliness and is able to emancipate and empower herself educationally and economically thus contributing meaningfully to economic growth and making informed decisions about her personal life. The basic dramatic statement the playwright seems to be making, through this play is that culture should not be a tool for oppression and marginalization in the hands of men.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v6n2a8