Binaric structures and female erasure in Ezra Lim’s “Woman”

Oscar C. Labang


The upsurge of discourses in Gender and Feminist studies and theories has garnered new levels of consciousness about the place of the woman in contemporary society. The contemporary African society has been greatly impacted by such discourses and this has led to new writings (poetry, fiction and non-fiction) that confront hitherto unchallenged definitions and positioning of women. Negative representation of the female gender still continues to surface in contemporary African literary texts by males. This essay explores one of such texts by a Cameroonian poet. It discusses various forms of female erasure by showing how binary structures in Ezra Lim's "Womanhood" function to reveal profound ideas of female marginality. Although the poem like many others in Lim's collection titled Woman (A Collection of Poems) has a deeply religious tone and mindset, it also conveys strong undercurrents of anti-female sentiments by continually placing the female in a peripheral position. Lim conveys a certain reality (typical Cameroonian cultural experience) from a particular viewpoint that shows women to exist purposely for the good of the men. Lim's religious inclinations play a major role in his definition of the position of the woman in the binary equation.    


Binarism; Female erasure; Religion; African poetry

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