Feminist Ethics and Gender Portrayals in Urhobo (African) Traditional Music
Essential concern of feminist ethics is that the moral perspectives and experiences of women are not often taken into cognizance in ethical discussion and that there is an unjust power structure in a culture that discriminates against women and privileges the position and rights of men over women. The moral ideal is often based on the male evaluation. The moral views on what ought to be just relationships between men and women permeate almost all aspects of cultural life, including music. Urhobo traditional music is not an exception. Urhobo traditional music which is a reflection of African traditional values that endorses patriarchy portrays women as inferior to men and women are to be subservient to men in decision-making in society. The paper will use critical analytic and hermeneutic methods to do a feminist ethical critique of gender portrayal in Urhobo traditional music. Excerpts from Urhobo traditional music will be presented, translated and their meaning evaluated. The paper finds and concludes that there is a need to create traditional music that projects the equality of men and women, just relationships among the sexes, and enhances the positive values of feminist ethics.
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