DOUBLE STANDARDS FOR THE SEXES IN THE WORKS OF SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR AND IHECHI NKORO

Ndidiamaka Ononuju Ejechi, Lilian Nwanokwai Ogbenege

Abstract


Previous studies in the area of women and gender studies have dwelt on oppression of women in the society and suggested ways to overcome it. However, the double standards on which oppressive behaviours toward women are based, as mirrored in literary texts, have not yet been adequately explored. The present study therefore, sets out to examine double standards in the societal values used in determining the worth of women and men, married or unmarried. The paper examines how internalised cultural self-worth of male and female members of the society play out consciously or unconsciously in influencing their views and actions as well as how these work against the interests of women. The works of two female authors, namely, Les belles images by Simone de Beauvoir, a European, and Ma vie m’appartient by Ihechi Nkoro, an African, are chosen for the investigation. This is considered a vantage point from which to explore established conventions and how these reinforce female oppression in both societies. The study draws from feminist principles in carrying out the analysis of the selected works and points to ways that oppressive double standards can be undermined, resulting ultimately in a reduction of oppression against women.

Key words: Double standards, sexual freedom, social conventions, female oppression, marriage, child bearing.


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