African Masculinities: Discussing the men in Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives (2013) and Adebayo’s Stay with Me (2017)
This essay undertakes an often-overlooked aspect of gender anatomy of African literature, bringing to the fore the challenges faced by a segment of African men. Using masculinity theories, it exposes instances of fake men who cling to hegemony as the pathway to achieve glory, while hiding their infirmities—impotency and sterility. The paper makes the case that the concept of African masculinity should be open up to debate in order to bring to the fore tensions associated with it. It articulates the position that mimicry should no longer be used as a power and glory mask to overlook tensions in many families often leading to tragic consequences granted that African men were to be innovative to adopt Western health standards. The discussion is achieved by looking at two key roles of males in African societies that places an unnecessary burden on them—as men in the sense that they should be able to biologically produce children and men as heads of their respective homes. The paper concludes that as long as these masculine roles remain rigid without considering that there are men who cannot perform these functions due to no fault of theirs, their female counterparts cannot be free of unnecessary and unfair socio-cultural responsibilities.
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