Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

The Stereotypical Portrayal of Female Characters in the Drama Mahlo Ya Nkwahle by OR Chauke

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

The Stereotypical Portrayal of Female Characters in the Drama Mahlo Ya Nkwahle by OR Chauke

Article excerpt

Introduction

Feminist theory explores both inequality in gender relations and the constitution of gender. It should be clearly articulated that feminist theories began as an attempt to explain the oppression of women. It is of utmost importance to mention that feminist theory gave birth to what is commonly known as feminist movement. Brewer (2009:16) is of the view that feminism seeks to explain how women find their own power in a world filled with social stereotypes and stigmas. Knight (1995) in Brewer (2009:16) feminism ". . . seeks to expose, not to perpetuate, patriarchal practices". Presently the research on feminism has gone beyond explaining the women's experiences but focusing on the effects of economy, culture and politics on gender equality (Carlson and Ray 2011).

Shilubane (2007:04) maintain that women as a marginalized group suffer the realities of gender inequality. SinghaRoy (2001:34) in Shilubane (2007) says that gender inequality arises from deeply entrenched attitudes among males that the female gender is the inferior gender, an attitude which social institutions often reinforce. This attitude is responsible for pushing women into marginalised situations. Gender equality can never be attained if women are still left behind regarding their education. Gender equality can be a possibility if the country, the oppressor, the discriminator and the perpetrator respect the principles of equity, equality, and human rights. Stralton (1990) in Peter (2010:05) state that female characters are figured in a variety of ways, some of which are gender stereotypes and gender inequality.

Aim of the paper

The aim of this paper is to critically analyse the stereotypically portrayal of female characters by OR Chauke in the drama titled Mahlo ya Nkwahle.

Literature review

Machaba's (2011) examines the image of women in Xitsonga literature and also investigates whether there is a link in the expected cultural roles of Vatsonga women and their roles as characters in Xitsonga literature; and whether there is a shift in the way women characters are portrayed to represent the current social and political reality.

Furthermore, Machaba's study also examines the naming of female characters in relation to their roles in the texts. The titles of the texts are also investigated and analysed to establish whether they portray any gender stereotypes. The themes of the selected texts are also examined to establish if there is any gender biasness. Both male and female-authored texts have been investigated to explore whether male authors depict women differently from their female counterparts.

Holtzhausen, Jordan and North (2011:168) maintain that consumers are exposed to a wide variety of advertising in different media every day, and from these exposures, certain thinking patterns evolve. Ibroscheva (2007) in Holtzhausen, Jordan and North (2011) holds that gender roles in the media are authenticated through regular exposures and then adopted by the public as the norm. The findings of Holtzhausen, Jordan and North's study (2011) indicate that South African advertisers link women to consumer decision-making for lowinvolvement products rather for highinvolvement products. Women were seldom represented in product categories that highinvolvement products, such as electronics. Brewer (2009), in his study, explored "the claims of progress in representing women in entertainment today by analyzing the social stereotypes that surround them in the slasher film genre. It attempted to find out if stereotypic portrayals of women in slasher films have changed from the original films to the later remakes". His conclusion therefore is that "even though the media representatives say portrayals of women in films have changed over the last few decades, it would appear that they really have not" (Brewer, 2009:49). Meanwhile Serra and Burnett (2007:147) argue that male supremacy and female subordination are often propagated through gender differentiation in advertising messages. …

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