There Is No Food in the House: Gender Masculinity and Human Security in Nigeria

By Okotie, Henry V | Ife Psychologia, September 2008 | Go to article overview

There Is No Food in the House: Gender Masculinity and Human Security in Nigeria


Okotie, Henry V, Ife Psychologia


Abstract

There is no food in the house is a phraseology that is commonly directed to the man in the house. The phrase is used here to capture the inescapable roles and responsibilities that the society expects the male gender to perform in the growth and development of the society. The Nigerian society is a patriarchal society where the men are perceived and expected to be responsible for the growth and development of the society under any circumstance. The male gender is conditioned to cater for the other weaker sex and children in the society based on gender perception that the men are the stronger sex. This paper is of the view that gender is not synonymous with sex and an attempt to impress the inadequacies of the growth and development of the society on the male is gender biased. The paper further argues that the penchant for the female gender to put the burden of development and family expansion on the male gender by appealing to feminism is an escapist approach that could lead to human insecurity. Gender mainstreaming involves both sexes and the growth and development of the society should be encompassing. The paper concluded by looking at the challenges faced by the male gender in order to maintain a balance in the society and strategies were proffered to tackle these challenges so as to improve on the human security network in Nigeria.

Introduction

In our contemporary world, there has emerged a perceived consensus that man and woman are equal. This consensus is fallout from the various literatures that have emanated from the Gender studies. Often times the gender literature is equated with women literature; and it has been directed with consorted efforts to portray women as being weak and marginalized by their male counterparts. Therefore, the gender balance is seen as nothing but an attempt to emancipate the woman from discriminations by the men. Volumes of gender literature often misconstrue gender with feminism and have succeeded in given the women the leverage to ascertain that gender is synonymous with women. It has taken on such a gargantuan magnitude that whenever gender is mentioned, the women believed it is and ought to be their fora.

Gender is not synonymous with women, it is not synonymous with men either. And most importantly, gender is not synonymous with sex; and an attempt to equate gender with sex could lead to scholastic pedantry. The main trust of this paper is an attempt to establish that gender masculinity and gender feminity are both sides of the same coin, and that an attempt to separate them under the guise of gender disparity will lead to human insecurity in Nigeria.

The Concept of Gender

Gender has taken on a very important dimension in the developmental and security network on a global proportion.

The UNDP (1986) cited in (Oluyemi-Kusa 2006: 205) defines gender as:

The term gender denotes the qualities associated with men and women that are socially and culturally, than biologically determined. Gender includes the way in which society differentiates appropriate behaviour and access to power for women and men. Although the details vary from society to society and change over time, gender relations tend to include a strong element of inequality between women and men and are strongly influenced by ideology " (Oluyemi - Kusa 2006: 205)

Nj abili (1991:1) defines "Gender as a socially constructed phenomenon that is brought about as society ascribes different roles and duties, behaviour, and mannerism to the two sexes. Unlike sex, it is a perceptual feature and therefore, subject to change as it affects the way in which people act or behave towards each other". He further draw a line of distinction between sex and gender by saying that sex is a biological phenomenon that an individual acquires immediately after fertilization (as x and y chromosomes pair up i.e. before birth).

One of the fundamental issues in the exposition of gender and sex is that, gender can be changed and dynamic in a dynamic society, while sex cannot change. …

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