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Communication and Gender Studies! Outdoor Quiz

Welcome to our series of outdoor quizzes. Recall that we discussed how to commence field work on gender and communication studies. This write-up is supposed to simply place each candidate in the category of gendered communication studies he or she is supposed to work on But I figured that making my seminar topics public wouldn’t be a nice idea. I decided to group the candidates first then privately make their research titles available to them later.

Before then there are hurdles to clear.

First, do an analysis of the video below and briefly explain the relationship between that video and gender-informed communication studies. This is part of the process of getting us used to gender-based activities we will be doing in a couple of months. While doing the analysis explain the implications of this video to residents of Umoja, a village in the grasslands of Samburu, in northern Kenya. Surely this video has relevance to the story of those women. If you would like to read the full story entitled Single Sex Community! See Village Where Men Are Banned, then click on the title to see the article.

 

Deadline for this quiz is Sunday July 8, by 10pm. Once you submit your work I will grade and upload. After uploading your work I will call you to forward your research topic for the course.

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The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, (formerly Anambra State University), Igbariam Campus.

7 Comments

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  1. Genevieve Nwedo-Nzeribe

    Single-sex Community: Analysis of Video.
    In a recent article, “Gender and Communication in Nigeria: Is this the 21st Century”, Professor Stella Okunna looked at the overwhelming imbalance in Gender relations in Nigeria to the disadvantage of the women. She observed that, in the male-dominated societies, women’s subordination and men’s dominance are so pronounced that their sub-cultures are literally separated by a world of difference.
    In view of the harsh patriarchal system in particularly under developed societies, recognition of the dire need for wide-scale social transformation, most women who male chauvinists gowever dub feminists and a good number of women-inspired NGOs are taking up the gauntlet to free themselves from the repressive practices.
    This short film, “Land of No Men: Inside Kenya’s Women Village” is a demonstration of the women’s will to take their fate in their hands and liberate themselves from oppression and all kinds of violence from the men. This matriarchal uprising is sweeping villages in Samburu in Northern Kenya from Umoja where men are completely banned to Nachem, Sopalake and Nang’ida where the men are allowed but denied control.
    In the video, we see a village gender landscape of women-only society. It however demonstrates that although the women have tried to escape male dominance and violence such as rape, forced marriage, female genital mutilation and battery in the case of married women, the still need the men for procreation and sexual satisfaction, hence the growing population of two hundred children against forty-seven women. It is also observed that, even they are not able to completely do away with gender role ascription as they invite a man to herd their animal which is seen as a man’s job in the region.

  2. Okoye Jude V. C.

    AN ANALYSIS OF A SINGLE SEX COMMUNITY! VILLAGE WHERE MEN ARE BANNED
    By Okoye Jude V. C.
    This is an analysis of the video of a single sex community and a brief explanation of the relationship between the video and gender-informed communication studies. We explain the implications of this video to residents of Umoja, a village in the grasslands of Samburu, in northern Kenya, believing that this video has relevance to the story of those women. It is titled the land of no men: inside Kenya’s women-only village. Published on the YOU TUBE channel by “BROADLY”, on the 9th of September, 2015.
    In Umoja women are only residents. This is to say that the gender profile of Umoja is “mono sexual” Why is this so? It is odd and strange, because any human society is ideally made up of man and woman genders which are social categories based on role ascription, in contrast with male and female sexes which are biological categories. If Umoja gender landscape has women- only profile, it is truly a gender biased society, but this time the bias is skewed in favour of female sex. This seems to be a global exception. It is interesting though.
    Julie Bindel visited this Kenyan village that began as a refuge for survivors of sexual violence and discovered that its inhabitants are living as a single sex community, occasioned by sexual violence, rape, and male superiority, which are gender issues. Gender bias it seems is constructed to favour the male sex, but in Umoja the reverse is the case, for here the feminine gender held sware.
    Umoja was said to be founded in 1990 by a group of 15 women who were survivors of rape by local British soldiers. How do we reconcile this moral aberration and crime on the part of the British soldiers? They were supposed to know better. In spite of their so called “cultural superiority” they found occasion to engage in sexual violence, which created a deep fissure in the psyches and personalities of the victims. This signifies that gender issues are not only universal; they are laced with serious human consequences. It is in the psyches of men. Again it shows that gender issues are not exclusive to a particular gender landscape.
    Umoja’s gender landscape, according to Julie’s report has now grown to include any women escaping child marriage, FGM (female genital mutilation), domestic violence and rape – all of which are said to be cultural norms among the Samburu. Umoja gender landscape can be said to have a victimized gender profile. This equally indicates that an average victim wishes to be treated fairly but may be held down by the existing norms and traditions which can be done away with. For these women the solution to gender issues that confronted them lie in escape and the establishment of a woman-only society. They are right. They see men as their problem.
    Rebecca Lolosoli is the founder of Umoja and the village matriarch. She was said to be in hospital recovering from a beating by a group of men when she came up with the idea of a women-only community. This was a highly innovative and imaginative thought. Necessity they say is the mother of invention. The beating was said to be an attempt to teach her a lesson for daring to speak to women in her village about their rights. Did it stop her? It ennobled her. What is supposed to be nothing, but masculine conspiracy, became feminine emancipation.
    The Samburu were reported to be closely related to the Maasai tribe, speaking a similar language. Their culture is said to be deeply patriarchal. This is to mean that theirs is a deeply gendered society skewed in favour of the male sex. This is an indication of a typical gender binary African society with no considerations for the in-betweens. You can consider for instance that at village meetings men are said to sit in an inner circle to discuss important village issues, while the women sit on the outside, only occasionally allowed to express an opinion. The question here is where is freedoms of speech and expression of opinions? Where are the democratic tenets? They don’t exist at least for the woman gender. How would there be progress? How would their interests be represented when they have no voice? For according to Paulo Farieri(1921), progress lies only in dialogue. This has implication for communication and gendered society. The implication here is that communication is top down. The man and woman gender are not at the same frequency and wavelength. Thus relationship is left footed, master-servant, and counter development .
    All Umoja’s first members were said to come from the isolated Samburu villages dotted across the Rift valley. Since then, women and girls who hear of the refuge came and learnt how to trade, raise their children and live without fear of male violence and discrimination. This is truly an innovation and must be appreciated.

    There are said to be currently 47 women and 200 children in Umoja. Although the inhabitants are said to live extremely frugal life, these enterprising women and girls earn a regular income that provides food, clothing and shelter for all. There is nothing as sweet and liberating as freedom, which these women enjoy. They labour in self assurance. This is a function of participatory communication. Village leaders are said to run a campsite, a kilometre away by the river, where groups of safari tourists stay. Many of these tourists, and others passing through nearby nature reserves, also visit Umoja. Development is looking inward and these women are deeply involved in it. The women charge a modest entrance fee and hope that, once in the village, the visitors will buy jewellery made by the women in the craft centre. This is right economic thinking. Who says the women cannot think for themselves and be innovative?
    In the final analysis Umoja can be said to be truly an innovation and a phenomenon in handling gender issues and women emancipation. Kudos.

  3. Ntomchukwu Festus Chigozie

    Ntomchukwu Festus. A. Analysis of the video: the video is strictly an exposition of a tradional cultural setting of women in Samburu village in Kenya. It showcased a women dominated society with decision power resting on her. A society where women dictate what to do and how it should be done. The wowenfolk would appreciate not to marry so as not to empower the menfolk. They therefore control d source of wealth which is tourism and business. Though female genital circumcision is about 80℅ in practice,women are beginning to object the practice as they would prefer to stay unmarried than undergo d practice. B. There is relationship between d video and gender informed communication as the mass of the women act on the influence n directive of the women leader madam Rebecca. She remained their eye having been exposed,met with highly placed officials. The level of communication is limited due massive illiteracy. The women under their leader were aimed at breaking d barrier of illiteracy as they embarked on building of school for their children. The video depicts women in a very remote rural area who depend on nature n their leader Rebecca for their daily activities.

  4. Umoja as a Metaphor

    By Anthony Onyima

    Umoja, an all-female community in grasslands of Samburu, in northern Kenya is a metaphor for the contradictions, dilemma, issues and challenges arising from a gendered world. Founded in 1990 by a group of 15 women who were survivors of rape, Umoja has come to be a refuge for women escaping from obnoxious religious practices, child marriage, domestic violence, female genital mutilation and other Samburu cultural practices against women. With an increased population of 47 women and 200 children, Umoja symbolizes freedom for women.
    “The Land of No Men: Inside Kenya’s Women-Only Village” is a short but powerful documentary produced by Broadly; it succinctly tells the story of a matriarchal safe haven for Samburu women who no longer want to suffer abuses at the hands of men. Anchored by Michelle De Warte, the documentary has over 3.4 million views on YouTube since it was published on September 9, 2015.
    The documentary depicts a classic example of our gendered world – the cultural and socially constructed ideas of sexuality, masculinity and femininity that are ascribed to different sexes. As a social construct, gender is “learned, symbolic, cultural and dynamic”. For over 500 years, the women in Samburu have been socially schooled to accept patriarchy with its attendant abuse as a way of life. They were also culturally and socially modeled as sex toys with no economic rights. These social constructions persisted until 1990 when Rebecca Lolosoli rebelled. In my view, Rebecca is the archetype of the Separatist Feminist movement which argues that the best way to deal with patriarchy is to leave it and form women-centered communities, like Umoja, that are largely removed from the larger society. However, it should be pointed out that in trying to solve the gender bias in Samburu culture, the Umoja women have created a new problem – bias against men and different gender landscape contrary to the binary found in Africa. As admitted by one of the interviewees in the documentary, Umoja women still need men in their lives as demonstrated by the presence of 200 children in the community. These men, however, must live or associate with them on their terms, which are summarized as freedom from violence and obnoxious cultural practices.

    Samburu’s culturally constructed gender problem can only be solved over time through education. Scholars have identified language as being “central to the way we learn about gender and we enact it through communicative acts because language is social and symbolic”. Therefore, the education must be through gender-informed communication. It can then be said that there is a relationship between the documentary and gender-informed communication, which is a specialized field that focuses on the ways we, as gendered beings, communicate. Gender-informed communication strives to change the way we talk “about and between people of all genders in order to make a more empathetic and safe space for our entire community”.

  5. Umoja as a Metaphor

    By Anthony Onyima

    Umoja, an all-female community in grasslands of Samburu, in northern Kenya is a metaphor for the contradictions, dilemma, issues and challenges arising from a gendered world. Founded in 1990 by a group of 15 women who were survivors of rape, Umoja has come to be a refuge for women escaping from obnoxious religious practices, child marriage, domestic violence, female genital mutilation and other Samburu cultural practices against women. With an increased population of 47 women and 200 children, Umoja symbolizes freedom for women.
    “The Land of No Men: Inside Kenya’s Women-Only Village” is a short but powerful documentary produced by Broadly; it succinctly tells the story of a matriarchal safe haven for Samburu women who no longer want to suffer abuses at the hands of men. Anchored by Michelle De Warte, the documentary has over 3.4 million views on YouTube since it was published on September 9, 2015.
    The documentary depicts a classic example of our gendered world – the culturally and socially constructed ideas of sexuality, masculinity and femininity that are ascribed to different sexes. As a social construct, gender is “learned, symbolic, cultural and dynamic”. For over 500 years, the women in Samburu have been socially schooled to accept patriarchy with its attendant abuse as a way of life. They were also culturally and socially modeled as sex toys with no economic rights. These social constructions persisted until 1990 when Rebecca Lolosoli rebelled. In my view, Rebecca is the archetype of the Separatist Feminist movement which argues that the best way to deal with patriarchy is to leave it and form women-centered communities, like Umoja, that are largely removed from the larger society. However, it should be pointed out that in trying to solve the gender bias in Samburu culture, the Umoja women have created a new problem – bias against men and different gender landscape contrary to the binary found in Africa. As admitted by one of the interviewees in the documentary, Umoja women still need men in their lives as demonstrated by the presence of 200 children in the community. These men, however, must live or associate with them on their terms, which are summarized as freedom from violence and obnoxious cultural practices.

    Samburu’s culturally constructed gender problem can only be solved over time through education. Scholars have identified language as being “central to the way we learn about gender and we enact it through communicative acts because language is social and symbolic”. Therefore, the education must be through gender-informed communication. It can then be said that there is a relationship between the documentary and gender-informed communication, which is a specialized field that focuses on the ways we, as gendered beings, communicate. Gender-informed communication strives to change the way we talk “about and between people of all genders in order to make a more empathetic and safe space for our entire community”.

  6. TOPIC: THE ANALYSIS OF A SHORT FILM ON YOUTUBE CAPTIONED “THE LAND OF NO MANON”
    DATE: 15TH SEPTEMBER 2015
    The short video clip captioned “Land of no man” showcased the activities of women who established matriarchal system at Umoja village in Kenya to enjoy the peace and freedom. The actions of those women were triggered by injustice, humiliation, and discrimination as a result of gender inequality practiced in their community were men dominates, these challenges includes female genital mutilation, forceful early marriages to men that were ten times older than them who regards them as their properties that can used at their disposal.
    Rebecca the matriarch and the female advocate for women right explained her cause to fight against the injustice she experienced in the hands of the village men for condemning injustice which her husband conceded. This led to her running away to establish the village with other women who could no longer tolerate the injustice and gender biased community. The video clip showed the unanimous spirit which these woman had developed to make themselves independent and successful. They co- existed happily without the aid, support and encouragement from men and on the other hand felt threatened by their actions. The action made them independent of men and attracted younger females who felt threatened by their husbands in the patriarchal community.
    The implications
    The video clip has actually given us an insight to the African definition of gender which is binary in view and totally deferent from the definition of gender landscape from the developed world that sees it as in-between. This fact is apt from the speech made by the former president of US Obama in the video clip where he highlighted the need for equity, justice and equally opportunity for all gender.
    The video clip touched one objective of this communication and gender studies which relates to how gender biases affect both men and women in a particular society.
    This video clip has both negative and positive implication on the men and women in the society. It is positive in the women side because they have finally discovered their potentials to be independent and happy without the men domineering over them. They were able to escape humiliations and domestic violence from their men. They became well organized and successful that their men felt threatened by their actions. Whereas the negative implication include future procreation effects in Kenya. They also developed a very negative mentality about men in general.
    The issues mentioned in this short film could have been averted in this community with comprehensive understanding of gender equality and appropriate communication through effective and efficient channels.

  7. CHUKWUEBUKA CHUKWUEMEKA

    “Land of No Men: Inside Kenya’s Women Village”
    An analysis By Chukwuebuka Chukwuemeka
    Umoja and the consequential villages are very bold statements. They have added yet another chapter to the unending story of the “class” conflict, this time patriarchy versus matriarchy, feminism versus masculinity.
    According to Sam Killermann (2013), Gender can also be broken into three categories, gender identity, gender expression, and biological sex. These three categories are another way of breaking down gender into the different social, biological, and cultural constructions. These constructions focus on how femininity and masculinity are fluid entities and how their meaning is able to fluctuate depending on the various constraints surrounding them.
    The short video made by BROADLY in 2015 is set on the Northern Province of Kenya among the Samburu people. It chronicles the emergence of an all women society. The women under their matriarch Rebecca Lolosoli decided to take their destiny in their hands by establishing for themselves safe havens where they will be free from violence and domination of men. Women who were violated through rape, child marriage, domestic violence and repressive cultural practices found solace and protection in Lolosoli’s enclave.
    The video paid attention to just one of the remote causes of the emergence of Umoja-repressive traditional practices. Little or nothing further was said about the roles of the British soldiers who raped the women. As part of the clip, the former American resident was seen during his visit to Kenya lecturing the people on outdated traditional practices and said nothing about the roles of the West in keeping Africa in the backyard.
    From Umoji to Nachami to Supalake and down to Nang’ida, you see a world created by women and for women. They have shown that it could as well be a woman’s world after all. You see a world where women make the rules and the men obey; a world where women define and assign roles. One notices that in Umoja, men are completely barred yet, there are 200 children within the community. The question is, “Are the women now hermaphrodites?” In Nachami, the women still have their husbands because according to them, they are not separated at heart. The same thing at Supalake, men exist in a world governed by women.
    Rebecca Lolosoli has done noble and should be commended for giving the women a voice however, attention is drawn to other social problems arising such as the women’s anti-marriage posture, the many children springing up in Umoja without fathers and growing up without the father-figures, the tendency for women to weld so much power and now become guilty of the same things they accuse the men of.
    In all honesty, I think that the Umoji story is not an end in itself rather; it is a means to an end. The goal of this clip is to highlight the plight of these women as well as the need to create a world where there is mutual right and respect for all genders. On a closer look, I observed that there are men who are happy living with the women in their own terms. They are happy that the women are making the rules and they are not complaining. The impact of the movement by Rebecca has also affected the wider society when men are also thinking that good education and passage of time will erase the imbalance in a male dominated society.
    The most outstanding relationship between this video and gender-informed communication studies is that Julie Bindel, the lady that did the documentary and Hillary Clinton an acclaimed friend of the founder of Umoja village are all women attracted to issues bothering on the life of fellow women. People of the same gender are instrumental in bringing to the fore and championing the cause of their fellows. It gives more faith and credibility to the communication.

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