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Full Length Research Paper

Culture, Gender and Identity: Images and Realities in Igbo Community, Nigeria

Solomon C. Madubuike, PhD

Department of Sociology, Bowen University, Iwo.

Corresponding Email Address: Solomadubuike@yahoo.com

Received June 1, 2015; Accepted August 7, 2015


The paper examines the images and reality of gender identity differences in Igbo community as social processes of self-esteem, class structure, status consciousness and self-categorization in the community. The changing images of gender and identity in Igbo patriarch- community dates back to the outset of colonial infiltration of the indigenous culture with the introduction of women taxation, western religion and education and office employment in the area. Like in many other Nigerian cultures, gender image and identity started to change in meaning and values consequent to colonialism. Thus preference for the male-child over the female-child started to take prominence immediately after western-education was introduced in the area in the 1900s Britain expedition. The reality is the change in gender equality that existed and its implication in cultural values, norms and beliefs of the people in terms of religion, education, marriage, occupation, inheritance rights and leadership. Moreover, an unprecedented class distinction and social status consciousness began to negotiate the terms of social recognition and interaction on the bases of the new ways of life at the expense of those who did not have western- influence through religion, education and travelling to foreign countries like Britain, United States of America and Canada. They were subjected to inferiority complex persecution in the community, thus creating gender inequality. Through textual analysis of data and interviews with community leaders, elders, and youths, this study established insights on gender image and identity construction and deconstruction within the contexts of colonial influence on gender image and social identity, arguing that the stimulus to stigmatize gender-female image-identity as inferior subordinate to male among Igbo people comes from colonial cultural influence of self-categorization. Thus, there is need to depersonalize colonial influence in our cultural life so as to reactivate indigenous values and respects for womanhood.

Keywords: Culture, Gender, Image, Identity, Inequality, Colonization, Community, Igbo, Nigeria.

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