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Adadevoh, I. (2011). RETHINKING TOKENISM IN MASCULINISM.. PHILICA.COM Article number 221.

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Irene Omolola Adadevohunconfirmed user (Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba,, Lagos State University)

Published in philoso.philica.com


Email: ioaadadevoh@yahoo.com
Phone: 08057957072

This paper critically examines the tokenistic and unsecured influences of masculinized capricious traditions within both cultural and institutional spheres. It explains that problems arose as a result of untoward idealizations and cognitive socialization of masculinity. It explores analytically the quagmire that such idealization and socialization generates such as: social, cultural, political educational and economic incapacitations. It interrogates in an in-depth manner, the parochial masculinized mythical traditions with a bid to elucidate in a philosophical manner on the illusory and misleading gender development and security couched under such tradition. In short, the paper seeks to situate gender cognitive analysis within a development framework that can ensure an integrative and sustainable social order that will serve the purpose as preserver of fundamental human rights, transformer of human value and dignity and conservator of human and social security.

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Email: ioaadadevoh@yahoo.com


Phone: 08057957072



This paper critically examines the tokenistic and unsecured influences of masculinized capricious traditions within both cultural and institutional spheres. It explains that problems  arose as a result of untoward idealizations and cognitive socialization of masculinity.  It explores analytically the quagmire that such idealization and socialization generates such as: social, cultural, political educational and  economic incapacitations. It interrogates in an in-depth manner, the parochial masculinized mythical traditions with a bid to elucidate in a philosophical manner on the  illusory and misleading gender development and security couched under such tradition. In short, the paper seeks to situate gender cognitive analysis within a development framework that  can ensure an integrative and sustainable social order that will serve the purpose as preserver of  fundamental human rights, transformer of human value and dignity and conservator of human and social security.


Introduction: Essential Elements of Social Ordering of Tokenism and the Problem of Masculine Tradition

The most essential elements of social order, which are liberty and equality, are said to be gender neutral. The problem of masculinized social  culture as exemplified by masculinized construct emanates from the Athenian social  background. By recourse to this background, liberty and right ascription to the sexes had been prejudicial to women. In addition, its preferences for their male counterpart is demonstrated in the Athenian connotations of political freedom as masculine opportunity to choose, be chosen or participate in choosing. Contrary to the Athenian masculinized social  culture, political equality connotes that the choice of the citizen, as well as his or her opportunity to choose or be chosen is as good as that of any other (Jones, 1975: 88, Macpherson, 1966).

Feminist agitation against the Athenian parochial conception of social order cast curious doubt on claims to social equality and liberty. Such doubt, given its masculinized inclination raises enduring question on the problem of political philosophy, which queries if there is evidently any form of human equality in intellectual, physical moral and social  ramification? (Rader: 1976:1, Collins: 1956). This argument against masculinized social order probably stems from the opinion that equality is more often prescriptive than descriptive. Hence, prescriptively, feminists urged that men and women should be given equal opportunity to develop since all are rational beings with equal capacity for virtue (Hamlyn, 1967: 39).  Descriptively, equality or liberty, cannot be achieved by holding everyone to the abstract standard of similar and equal treatment, rather these concepts can be secured only by recognizing that people are different in many ways  (Mitchell, 1975: 38). Gender politics ought therefore to extend the descriptive analysis of equality and liberty to accommodate people's differences.

Although, gender -neutral approaches in social order is perceived as subjected to various factual prolepsis, the utmost initially being that, given the large structure of modern societies, a system of governance, in which all qualified adult citizens exercises all these rights either directly or indirectly is utopian (Sartori, 1959: 90). Schumpeter on his part argued that "liberty and equality are not necessarily part of social order and that in all social  systems, there are necessary limitations with respect to the qualifications and circumstances of voters" (Schumpeter, 1976: 16).  Against this backdrop, it seems impossible to anchor social  principles on the notion of absolute equality. However, such social  negation of absolute equality should not be taken as a measure to foster sectional or sexist social  culture.  The point being made is that notions like political equality, equality before the law, equality of opportunity, economic equality and social equality are rarely fulfilled since some people are discriminated on the grounds of gender, race and economic status, culture and development; in most societies that claim to be social  (Nussbaum, 1995: 15). In masculinized archetype, the exercise of franchise in relation to gender politics is often sectional and sexist and as such excludes significant percentage of the population from just, free and fair process.

Much more, the smooth running of a sustainable social  culture gets disrupted by virtue of the several inequalities and inhibitions in the implementation and exercise of fundamental human rights and freedom. Taking the instance of the aforementioned disparities in sex, class, elitism, education, economic or other social and ethnic conditions, masculinized  political limitations are set, which circumscribe the real opportunities, and capacities in which the female voter can exercise her political ambition and bring to effect her political rights and choice (Horowitz, 1985).

In which case, patriarchy enforces sectional outlooks in politics, which are not necessarily compatible or reconcilable with the interest, and outlook of the public sphere or greater majority of the populace (Dewey, as cited in Irele: 1998). This consequently makes social order neither necessarily representational nor significantly symbolic of the people's wills (Sartori,1959:90). Given this masculinized complexity, social order cannot be said to have exemplified its most basic principle and practice of equality, freedom and representation, because it operates inherently with male representatives who probably constitute a minority in the larger civic population (Finley, 1973: 16).

         Masculinized social  rule to a large extent reflects an equality that presupposes the right to vote (for women) and the right to be voted for (for men). As a result, the constitutional guarantee of fundamental human rights under masculinized political network is in effect an outright attestation of men's liberty and women subjugation. To erode the fact of social  segregation, prospect for good and well-represented social  governance should be rooted and properly established within the necessary structure of governance and appropriate institution. It is not so much that contemporary social order as we have it does not have well-ordered principle of governance. As Zimmerin (1929:313) puts it, "we actually live an age of social order, but social order has not yet discovered it appropriate institution". Thus reiterating the fact that though the awakening campaign for the accordance of participatory rights to women in social, economic and political affairs of the society, signifies a readiness for civility and autonomy.  Nevertheless, with masculinized social order, there is a retrogressive voyage, back to the dark ages of war, tyranny and oppression. Although, Wilson in a famous phrase affirms that "war is an effort to make the world safe for social order however the world has been made safe for social order, but social order has not yet been made safe for mankind" (Wilson as cited by Zimmerin,1929:313). This means that patriarchy by its dominance structure has not fully incorporated within its machinery of governance the appropriate ideals of social  features. Hence, while we are ready for social order, the masculinized measure being meted out under the guise of social order is not safe for good interpersonal relationships, well anchored on liberty, equality, civility and justice.  

Social Tokenism From the Angle of  Motherhood  Psychology 

Gender inequality is often based on a psychology of motherhood,  in view of the fact that the great majority of the civic populace are notably uneducated or uniformed women who by virtue of their social procreative roles and its attendant domestic constraints cannot participate effectively or at all in many strata of social network  (Bowfes, 1989: 125,  Jones, 1975: 88). Conceivably, there are several segregationist domestic reasons why women should not be in politics. These are based on the political psychological analysis of motherhood. Aristotle on his part says that, as between male and female, the former is by nature superior and ruler, the latter inferior and subject… hence man is naturally fitter to command (Aristotle, in Sinclair, 1962). Many others too have argued that, political activities would "unsex and degrade women, destroy domestic harmony and lead to a decline in birth rate". (Iglitzin,1976:9). Their conception is built on the adaptive biological misconception that "women are happy home maker and they do not long for the factory they do not long for the parliament. A cozy home, a beloved husband, a number of happy children are far closer to their heart" (Cleverdon, 1974:6).  Alternatively, it may be construed more bluntly and chauvinistically as Schopenhauer did "women are directly fitted for acting as the nurses and teachers of our early childhood; by the fact that they are themselves childish, frivolous and shortsighted; in a word, they are big children all their life long" (Schopenhauer in Grimshaw,1986:37).

           Given these erroneous psychological analysis of motherhood, political leadership roles are taken presumptuously to be a masculine defined role. Apparently, in discharge of their leadership right, the men feels they have a right to do what they like even if this impinges on the women's desire, thereby trigging off conveniently an offensive veto,  that is:- a domineering power, which they subject women to. Undoubtedly, with the above illogical explanation on the psychological analysis of motherhood, there is an undue glorification of man above women. This in turn represses all forms of feminine capability and confidence to a rather timid, non-assertive, submissive, complacent and embittered role, which in effect cripples and derails the social  wheel of progress, thereby hindering gender development and political advancement.

        Most women faced with the kinds of odd biological explanation of social and political  roles, cannot but express grievance at such over-assuming motherhood limitation targeted against their political hopes, aspirations and desires. For instance, when some women's political desires are frustrated, their reaction is directed more viciously on the nature of the obstructing cause or agent of the unsocial  principles. Moreover, because this comprises ostensibly of their male counterpart, ‘masculinized culture and its masculine acolytes ', becomes the target of grievance other than social order itself, as a principle of government. These grievances are often extended to any form of deprivation of personal liberty, discrimination on the ground of sex, traditional interference,  servitude, forced and uncompensated labor, imprisonment, job restriction, and all other sexist restraint and obstruction to freedom, which dis-creditably sparks off injured self-respect, powerless hatreds and dissatisfied affection in many women.

             Social  freedom either politically or socially is a positive venture, which if impeded, would only arouse reaction of revolt; because it involves a high sense of non-interference. For example, in Berlin's (1985: 417-525) opinion, freedom subsists in the measure of non-interference in ones social and political aspirations and activities. Political freedom in absolute sense is simply the area within which a woman can either act unobstructed by others. However in view of utopian nature of this absolutism,  it is relatively rational and  logical to posit limited interference by others, in so far as it is not absurdly a gender or socially constructed obstruction. Social  liberty, can therefore be conceived as non-interference by others, because the wider the scope and area of men's interference in women's affair, the wider their inhibition.  Howbeit, liberty as an instrument of self-determination simply implies that one is rationally motivated by independent acts without being unnecessarily hampered. Thus, using Berlin's analysis (1985:525), liberty or freedom subsists when people act by virtue of their self-instrumental efforts. This is suggestive of not being chaperoned coercively by masculinized acts of domineering will. As such, all human persons are seen as being potential subjects and consequently are not to be objectified. In which case, an individual person or a collective group are to be moved by reason, by conscious purposes, which are authentically theirs and not by causes which, externally and irrationally affect them. This means that as an individual or as a group, each person wishes to be significantly active and decisive on issues that pertains to their well being.

     Segregationist egoistic attitudes and masculine supreme hegemony delimits the female person and reduces them to status of being decided for, or being acted upon by external nature or by other men, as if women were things or animals, or a slaves, incapable of playing a cognitive human role; whereby they will conceive of political goals and policies of their own and realizes them without demoralizing masculine forces acting on their will. This trend of Segregationist masculinized development, points to the concepts of differences in nature, sex and roles with a known enforced limitations against female subjects in social-institutional arrangement, strongly aligned with the psychoanalytic masculine interpretation of feminine nature and existence (Deutsch,1945). 

          Reactionary campaigns have been harbored by feminists against the phallocentric thinking and subsequent devaluation of women in a general masculinized misogynist civilization (Horney, 1967). Attempts in this regard were geared towards reconstructing the biased interpretations of outdated traditional psychology, biology and sociology,  which for long had explicitly proven that politically, women are maladjusted (Lewis,1968).  Consequently, the conflicting masculinized political stereotype has been detrimental to the contemporary psychological ideal of collective psyche and androgynous political culture (Ulanov, 1971). This means that the effect of faulty psychological analysis of motherhood, is not just the psychological underrating of femininity but rather refers also to the relegation of the women's political abilities, motivations, aspirations and rights to the background (Lovenduski, 1986:23).

Gender Tokenism and the Problem of Political Apathy and Withdrawal.

A true context of the psychological analysis of women's political ambition is based on their possession of reason and will. This indicates that women can conceive political ends and desire to pursue them. However, if they are prevented from attaining them, then it follows that they are no longer social and political being and also that political apathy and withdrawal have set in. Most often, the political passivity or apathy which women exhibit are ginger by all forms of interference on their will and reason. Consequently, their resort to indoor retreat and self abnegation, are not absolute proof of their being un-desirous of political powers, rather it is an indication of the magnanimity of their obstruction.

In view of the obstruction engendered by political apathy and withdrawal, this research assiduously agitates against the conception of social order as a form of sectional governance, by urging for appropriate political machinery where women are duly represented. As such, it posit that the Nigerian woman is seeking to correct and deconstruct the erroneous presumptions of hindered participatory right and subsequently of inequality as fostered by masculinized induced political apathy and withdrawal. 

In refuting the erroneous explanation proffered for political apathy and withdrawal  basically two main types of socialization occur at many points throughout the human life cycle, which are ‘anticipatory socialization' and ‘re-socialization'. Anticipatory socialization, refers to the processes of socialization in which the woman rehearses for future positions, occupations and social relationships. While "re -socialization" on its part, refers to the process of discarding former expectations on behavioral patterns, especially stereotypical constraint and accepting new ones as part of the historical transition in ones life.  Re-socialization is particularly effective for gender development, when it occurs within a total institute and system of gendered political governance.

The failure of women to get the issue, which agitate their minds to the fore of the public political agenda, has led to the choice of the strategy of apathy and withdrawal. In view of the problem of women's representation as created by political apathy, political seats are reserved for them in parliament to encourage them.  Through the withdrawal strategies from politics women  concentrate instead on the more immediate issue of domestic sustenance and common place survival strategies. However, both passive  participation as well as outright withdrawal as adopted by some women as identified above are ineffective. This is precisely because they are not politically competitive or social  strategies. Gender development cannot be sustained in a situation where political apathy or  withdrawal is made operational.

On several other notes,  representational indeterminacy as promoted by political apathy and withdrawal  can be as a result of the extension of colonial administrative and educational legacy, which favored men (Maccia, 1997:5, Omoruyi, 1994: 29). Furthermore, political apathy and withdrawal get more pronounced by the constraint experienced by women's limited economic opportunities (Lauretis, 1988: 7-9).  Even though constitutional provisions accord equal right to men and women alike, however due to the influence of masculinized heritage on the political psychology of women, a psychoanalytic enforcement of withdrawal was adopted. In its adoption male dominance continues to be perpetuated which invariably impedes women's capacities to undertake political work (Deutsch, 1945:5).

In fact, the political withdrawals that deprive women of political legitimacy can be narrowed down to western gender stereotypes and traditional masculinized command theories. The most obvious instrument of such withdrawal is that of the traditional and state laws. These reflect male dominated legislatures, which have been hesitant to scrape out masculinized traditions, especially as these traditions concern matters of survival such as: -land, marriage, divorce and inheritance. Similarly, political apathy and withdrawal bring about inadequate representation in government and the consequential inability to exert pressure on legislators make it all the more difficult for most women to defend themselves. These patterns of withdrawal and representational indeterminacy have ensured the neglect of issues that are central to entrenching gender neutrality in social  governance. For instance, land reform measures in some societies have neglected the fact of the dependence of women on men. In a like manner, development planners have ignored the deprivation of economic incentives such as credit and tax rebates so often granted to well-connected men and politicians.

From another perspective, the most dramatic oppositions to political apathy and withdrawal occurs when through masculinized legacy some women have the beneficial significance of an independent economic base that enhances no political status differentials between men. For such privileged women it is not unthinkable to challenge traditional male authority. For example, the western women's union succeeded in compelling the relinquishment of female taxation and as added value to their protest,  women's representation on the interim council was set up  to replace the government. However, despite these successes, women hardly have patron in male dominated societies who will ensure that their interest are reflected in public policy.

Women's political apathy and withdrawal thus became a bad faith or deceptive approach to problems of under-representation. This is because it poses a self-abnegating contradiction in dealing with political representation and participation. In this context, it cannot be assumed that once a representative government or a social  system is in place, it would itself perform magic of transforming the subjection of women and inequality of power relations between the sexes in the society. Deliberate efforts have to be made by women themselves in  putting into positive use the various principles, laws and guidelines which social  system seeks to guarantee. Such an effort makes a quest for ‘political education' and  ‘gender neutrality' in Nigerian social  culture very imperative. Conception of social order along these ties therefore connotes a set of political ideals, institutions and processes of governance that allows for a broad range of economic, educational and other forms of civic and human rights for both sexes on competitive basis, and not on selective and concessional note.

Tokenistic Selective and Concessional Participation

masculinized social  rule stems from a selective culture in which men dominates and rule and women are often secured by masculine concessions  (Oppong, 1983: 105). Given this selective construct,  Mc Dowell and Pringles remarked that  :-women are constantly defined in relation to men, as different in relation to men. Men, masculinity and male behavior are always the reference points. Women are thus dependent on men and subordinate to them" (Mc Dowell and Pringles as quoted in Mitchell 1975: 38). Accordingly, in the past as well as present social  dispensation in Nigeria, women have not featured in prominent representative elected offices due to the masculinized consessional heritage that accords subordinate representational rights to them (Iglitzin, 1976: 6). Much more, the reluctance of men, despite utterance to the contrary, to accept women as equal political partners hastened to discourage greater female participation in national political spheres. The men are however prepared to seek female support for their various political parties in terms of special support and votes but fall short of encouraging the women folk in aspiring for top ranking political office.  Eze, (1984:147) observed that women are apt to repeat the male view of women, often upheld as being not serious, incapable of coping with the tedious political activities and suited only for providing support for their male counterparts. As a result, the very few women that are in these male dominated institutions are only allowed into these institutions because of their close attachment with these men.

Another trend of selective and concessional rights in the political process of Nigeria, which is seen as discriminatory, is the institutional objectification of women. The government introduced another masculinized governance polarized margin that accentuates the perpetuation of gender disparity in the institutionalization  of the ministry for women's affair. This was first led by a man before it was seemingly reconciled by being handed over to a woman. This ministry is exclusively and selectively designed to cater for the interest of women. The recognition of these selective and concessional paradoxes has led to the call for broadening of the notion of social order to incorporate social, cultural and economic enlistment of the masses in such a way that would enhance actual existential analysis of political freedom and leadership in a non sexist way (Machinyre,1973:3-7). The point being made here is that through selective and concessional rights,  political freedom, rationality, choice, competence and responsibility are eroded.

In many ramifications, masculinized selective social order subsists in so far as the greater percentage of the sexes that dominate the political strata are men. It is indisputable that men with an exception of a few and token women control the educational policy, criminal justice, business and professional regulatory bodies, public health, among a variety of other important areas of socio-political life (Ritze,1996: 436). Dividing political power on compensatory representational ratio and percentage between the two sexes was one of the misguided solutions to this problem. In this context, participatory concession based on compensatory quota or ‘domestic' related power are allowed to persist in so far as the women so designated to these spheres do not conflict with the powers which the sovereign masculine government may wish to exercise.

In view of the fact that the theory of representation and participatory rights require a direct connection between the representative and the represented, vesting social  power in male supremacist assumption, became a problem. The problem revolves round the notion of how to grant necessary authority to government without creating such concentrated power that obstruct other people's political freedom and liberty. It is against this horizon that social  sexism continues to be appalling to the thesis of this research because, it promotes unnatural and preferential discriminatory tensions.  Resolving this tension requires constant attention to the role of government and continual reassessment concerning the proper distribution of power and authority between the two sexes.

Against this backdrop, the thesis maintained that the culture of selective and concessional participation fail to address the question of equitable distribution of powers between the sexes. This means that it does not account for the type of people, in terms of the

laboring masses or the elite and the privileged class that are occupying front state positions (Bowfes, 1989: 125). To confute this controversy, the thesis upholds Hatze's view (1996: 97), that democratization process should be understood as a "process by which the people are included in the political process as active rather than various participants". This implies that the representational determinacy for political inclusion within the democratization process in a more fundamental sense, should interject a form of active political inclusion of the masses. It also goes a long way in signifying that we should seek for a reformation of the unsocial  political withdrawal as demonstrated by many women, because male centered politics  portrays a political scenario in which male dominance of the political arena fuels a feeling of intimidation rather than support for women as viable political contestants.

To mitigate the effect of women's flights or withdrawal from politics, different women organization like National Council of Women's Societies, Women in Nigeria, the Media women, Professionals and other numerous women's organizations are fighting against the crises of inequality engendered by selective and concessional participation within the Nigerian social  governance.  This thesis argues that in order to ensure real equality of women with men, the idea of fixation of participatory right in terms of number or percentage of seats reserved for women contestants should be nipped in the bud. This can be effected through educational and political enlightenment that lay claim to the fact that representational determinacy in politics should not be based on reparatory, redemptory or compensatory justice but rather should be based on political freedom, competitiveness and  competence.

 Economics as a Basis for Non-Tokenistic Inclusion.

The inevitability of change in the relations of economic empowerment of women is very imperative today; if at least half of humanity is to be carried along in any form of social and gender development. In the quest for power and dis-entanglement from the shackles of diverse crippling masculinized indoctrination that tends to dis-empower women; there is the need for a proper perceptive analysis of the central concept of economic autonomy.

Hoselitz (1995:18-22) and Simmel (1978:23) holds that the clarion call for gender or social development must be preceded by economic empowerment. On this ground, the place of any person on the economic - positional ladder has tremendous ways in affecting their development. Based on this, the debate about economic determination are hardly new, since people's  right can be secured by recourse to the strategies of their economic capacity as evident in the alleviation of economic encumbrance, such as making available facility of credit, loans and market aid for economic enfranchisement (Andersen et al, 1995:65).

Generally, in this thesis masculinized argument,  the problem confronting the women have been particularly excruciating; and anchored on the masculinized economic malaise. In addressing this issue, the 1985 United Nation conference at Nairobi recommended some reformative measures as the forward-looking strategies for improving the status of women. No sooner was this passed, than the African delegates set out to work out modalities for its expansion and implementations. Unfortunately, in the discharge of these programs, they were faced with the stark reality of the inadequacies in considerably correcting the economic predicament of the ‘women' in the society. Instead, the ugly heads of gender or class stratification and masculinized exploitation were raised again despite the several appeals made to social ally vitiate their experience (Women in Nigeria Document- WIN, 1992).

Nigeria is a vividly good prototype of this masculinized incapacitating economic drive. Despite the fact that the country enjoys a tremendous oil boom, nevertheless the economic empowerment and strategy development of the women remain stagnant. They have had to contend with the ever-recurring controversial exclusion in instances of property acquisition and inheritance, revenue, employment, and cultural rights (Gordon, 1996:91). Consequently, many efforts being consciously made by Nigerian women group to put themselves at the helm of affair in the development plan of the nation, despite the formidability of their aims and objectives were relegated to the background.

Women in Nigeria Document (WIN) listed the following as exemplars of the diverse economic related proclivity namely: Rural work discrimination, Urban work discrimination, Educational discrimination, Legal discrimination, Association discrimination, Media discrimination, Family discrimination, Religious discrimination and Health discrimination.  All of which have either direct or indirect correlation with the sustainability of women's economic autonomy. For instance, at the rural level women are denied access to land and many other factors of production. Social amenities and consideration in development plans were also considered the prerogative right of the men. In the same vein, at the urban level their specialization in petty or small scale trading makes them earn meager income. As a result, "they form only 8% of the waged work force while they top the wageless". Similarly, only 6% of its adult female are literate as opposed to 25% for males (W.I.N: documents, 1992:18, 23.).

In other words, women's economic emancipation and educational, enlightenment are seen and considered as an unproductive venture. The imagery given women in the mass media are equally appalling, where they do not play behind the scene roles, they act as derogatory characters, and in many instances are depicted as the ‘economic squalor and spendthrift of the society. Legally, while the constitution guarantees equality, elements of patriarchy, in English, Islamic, Christian, as well as Customary laws as extensively made operational in Nigerian masculinized society denies the women the privilege of economic rights. This act of economic denials is perpetrated through deviant practices and erroneous interpretations, suggestive of blanket subservience, particularly in matter affecting marriage, inheritance and property. For instance, the Nigeria law of property inheritance particularly disfavors the women and thereby disinherits them. Moreover, where they are somehow granted inheritance titles and deeds they are only granted superficially.  It can be said therefore that to a very great extent ‘masculinized economy' has shaped the socio-political as well as economic life of women in Nigeria.

The capitalist-economic structure to which many countries subscribe, works to preserve this same economic sexism through diverse masculinized indoctrination, but most particularly through monetary influence. America for instance is basically bourgeoisie; right from its inception, sexism holds sway and the political leadership of the ‘man and money' had always been the order to the day (Jaggar, 1983:44). Similarly, in masculinized economic culture, the men are culturally trained to be more economically productive than the women are. In addition, any form of economic buoyancy that a few notable women have managed to muster had always been considered as inadequate.  This bias as propagated in policies of the government and development agencies coupled with some element of masculinized cultural factors are largely responsible for the economic and political gap between men and women.

The magnitude of the economic bias is nauseatingly glaring in many ‘supposed' gender neutral polices executed at the expense of the women. For instance, women's participatory role in agricultural production , non-agricultural work or domestic care roles,  marketing activities,  animal husbandry and community self help activities are largely decried. As a result, they own the least property and goods and have the poorest living and working conditions. The point being made is that while the percentage of male work force are rampantly increasing on daily basis within the masculinized economic culture that of their female counterparts are involuntarily decreasing. This is but a clear indication of under-estimation of the valuable and resourceful potentials of women work force.

There are also quite a number of extensive, though deliberately silenced innovative contributions made by women, such as invention of many food preservative techniques, the building of storehouses. All these creative economic innovations are in want of being applauded as the hallmark of economic expertise. These  according to Reed, (1975.37) include: "the separation of the poisonous and injurious substances…  the discovery of the properties of pine tar and turpentine and of chaulmoogra  oil, which today is the remedy the leprosy, the invention of homeopathic from acacia, alcohol, almond, balsam, betel caffeine, camphor, caraway digitalis, gum barley water, lavender, linseed, parsley, peppers, pomegranate, poppy, rhubarb, Senegal sugar, wormwood, and hundreds more, depending upon where the natural substances were found".. In short, rather than crediting women with the "chemistry of pot making, physics of spinning, the mechanics of the looms and the botany of flax and cotton", they are being desensitized by androcentric prejudices (Reed, 1975:71). This simply means that women's economic domestic labor, that should erstwhile be given market value are not so given. Hence, there is the need therefore to recognize that gender development and reformative policies on the masculinized incorrect economic role stratification can be effected through a change in economic  educational and intellectual valuation of  women in order to usher in the ‘great lofty height' of gender development much clamored for.

The obstinacy with which people hold on to masculinized traditional values even in the face of a rapidly changing economy may impose obstacles of formidable proportions.  Accordingly, attention should be drawn away from the ambiguity inherent in staging a crusade for economic progress of the women, while still clawing unto the preservation of these inhibiting masculinized cultural traditions. More so, as economic development is about people and since the most important resources required in bringing about development is people centered. It therefore follows that; the hardship, deprivation, inadequate opportunities in the national economy, un-gainful employment, and other forms of sufferings being meted out to the large number of women on daily basis are evidence and attestation to their economic dis-empowerment. Consequently, masculinized economy can not be sustained because it poses as a severe hindrance in meeting the capital pre-requisite of viable gender development. More so because women under the masculinized economic logic are sheer status enhancement to their affluent male counterpart.

Rethinking  Masculinized Tradition and School of Indoctrination

The idea that masculinized tradition and school of indoctrination incites cognitive alienation and victimizes girls has become the common cultural and gender knowledge. Accordingly, in masculinized educational tradition, there is an enormous gap between males and females, which lead to gender inequity that ironically makes the female person to obtain domestic and professional knowledge, based on misinformed and unequal educational concession. As a result,  educational problems stem from inequality in terms  of standards of cognitive ability in masculinized tradition.

In many traditional and contemporary school systems, men are characterized as stern, firm or authoritarian characters and women as weak and emotional, unable to control dignified vocation or incapable of actually transmitting any knowledge (McCauley, 1993:158). Based on this distinction, men were to have authority in relation to women and children. Moreover, it was only in relation to men that women were to enjoy freedom. Okin (1979: 275) sees this fundamental opposition of reason to nature as hindrance, and maintained that it gives little space to draw meaningful distinction between different levels of psychological and emotional experience in educational sphere, in that it tends to be lumped together as inclination and treated as caprice. Consequently, this depicts a scenario that conceptually portrays feminism as an ideological threat to masculinism.  Masculinism, at the level of whole society, according to Ball (1987:76) is in many ways than one analogous to the decision making and organizational consciousness that redefines school ethos. By this, he means that masculine hegemony evidently entails social practices and cultural processes that are actively hostile to the maintenance of educational-institutional equilibrium of the sexes. The fact however remains that neither girls nor boys nor any society itself are best served by the masculinized tradition and school of indoctrination. Rather it generates mythological dilemmas and ironic eulogy of sexual-disparity in knowledge acquisition.

It is a common practice for masculinized tradition and its school of indoctrination to entrench a rigidity of alliances as opposed to fluidity of alliances between the sexes. This rigidity of masculinized role stratification and the gender gap it elicits emerges primarily form the experience of ironic differences that indicate female- male distinction in educational, political, economic and other cultural contexts. Attempts to resolve this dilemma have been largely begrudged and the masculinized injustices have placed women in circumstantial and marginal positions. The extensive problems of this is that professionalism and skills acquisition are defined in an ideologically biased way, and women's skills particularly suffers damages (Krause, 1995:134).

 Myth of Tokenistic Merit and Widespread Reality of Mediocrity

Although, the dominant streak of mythical discrimination against girls and women is widespread in education, however, researches have extended this far beyond education, to other spheres of skilled professions (Goldstein, 1999:117).  In times past, to even times that are contemporary, educational criticism was usually focused on the treatment of girls, at the expense of boys. Many development educators noted that at many cognitive levels, boy's rates lower in performance and merit achievement than girls. However, this often has also been be vice versa because due to the educational concession granted to girls, their performance and assessment rates has been ridiculously low. Although recent survey research in oil torn minority section of the Nigerian Igbo society shows clearly that it is boys, especially minority boys, who believe that instructors are not as apt to encourage them to achieve their goals or do their best (Harris, 1997, 10, 13).

Irrespective of this perfunctory exception, there is still insistence that these sex differences occurred because the schools were either too masculine or overwhelmingly anti-feminine. With these mythical bias, teachers were either unable to meet boys' learning needs either effectively or consequently placed them on educational pedestal of expectations that most often does not befit their intelligent quotient. While the imposition and ascription of the myth of merit to the male person encourages many of them, but for the mediocre amongst them, it poses serious learning problems. This means that the myths of masculine merit in education either challenges the males to good performances or to cognitive self-pity. This is because males who were initially falling behind in educational attainment can be encouraged to perform better knowing fully well that they are supposed to possess the merit or mastery prowess. While those who have no capability for such meritorious or masterful cognitive venture continues to lag behind and sink deeper into the doldrums because they simply could not measure up to the merit or mastery standards.

On another note, many educational policies has enforced the myth of mediocrity against women by drawing attention to the gender gap designed to boost female performance with a presumptuous opinion that the boys will fit in naturally. It is with a bid to rectify this incorrect background that gender cognitive development opinions were raised in this thesis which stipulate that schools need to be equally concerned about the problems of boys.

Buttressing this opinion poll, Halpern (1995: 109) maintained that it is an obvious biological fact that boys mature more slowly than girls. For example, in many areas of skills acquisition, late-maturing boys can be stigmatized as poor learners and assigned to "low-ability groups ".  Although this late acquisitive skill is explained away by Zachary, (1997, A1) with the inaccurate fact that boys are more active than girls are and more difficult for educators to handle.  Consequently, "bright, bored, and rambunctious boys" have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and placed on drugs like Ritalin. 

However,  more resoundingly, the thesis maintained that the idea that  femininity depict mediocrity in educational pursuit is not only wrong but also dangerously fallacious. Most times, the masculinized cognitive logic predicates excellence and mastery of cognition for males against females and assumes an unequal or uneven knowledge acquisition and educational performance between the sexes. On this note, in both public and domestic sphere, women have often had problems grounded in this familiar conception of inequality and vulnerability (Okin, 1979:138). The quandary of women's educational relegation rests simply on the fact that they were discriminated against, oppressed and exploited in many ways that frequently benefit men. Bentley and Watts (1987:97) proposed a research program on educational oppression, situating feminism on a school systemic development that will allow girls and women grow in manner fitting their own reason and expectations, and not compellingly on the biological deterministic sense of housewifery and its associated dependency. 

By virtue of the dysfunctional dichotomy between reason and nature, there is an implicit association of women with nature. This has also been the rationalization given in support for their educational oppression by the society while reason on its part had been uniquely identified with masculinity (Seidler, 1988:273).  Goldstein, (1999: 539) writes similarly about the hope for the female sex emanating from the recognition and importance of professional knowledge. However because professional knowledge in some ways confers power,  Birke, (1986:164) stated that there had been instances of professional commoditization and commercialization of female persons and their professional acquisitive prowess. This is perhaps an oversimplified succor to the masculinized educational problem and definitely distorts the main pursuits and assessment of emancipatory agitation for women (Jaggar, 1983: 100).

Contemporarily, it is unlikely to become an ‘expert' or a ‘professional' without ones veritable accessibility to a wide and large expanse of knowledge. Presently though, only a few women have access to this kind of knowledge which according to Birke (1986:164) is partly due to the mythological discriminatory practices that deny them entry to appropriate profession, as well as the overwhelmingly male characteristics of sciences. According to Jaggar (1975: 100-101) training, skill, competence and expert knowledge accredit professional strengths. Therefore, for Jaggar women's mythological predicament lies in their eulogy of domesticity and biological cognition. According to this mythological masculinized predicament they generally sell in the informal market-place skills they normally practice in the home-child-care and domestic services (Reed, 1975:21). Nelson (1979:299) also pointed out that this goes a long way in ensuring their gross neglect in the scheme of good ranking cognitive values in the society. The point we make is that there are problems inherent in masculinized cognitive argument especially as it relates to providing women with skills and problem solving capacities that will enhance their cognitively defective biological-professional determinism (Saljo and Wyndhamn, 1990:242).

According to Walkerdine (1997:171-181) the non meritorious construction of gender identity of women may well be seen as a socialization strategy which equates them with poor performances in masculinized social and institutional systems. As a result, the dilemma of training professionals who reinforce the non meritorious dependence system according to Latapi (1982,164-165) disseminate the idea of institutionalized gender disparity and implies a sort of dysfunctional capacity quotient. According to Nussbaum (1995:103) and Feldman (1974:43, 175), many of the astounding masculinized enthrallment are due to lack of comprehensive approach to meritorious competence and the stereotypical lock up of women into masculinized welfare organizations. Indisputably, a status that tilts towards the lower professional ranks and non-tenure track position is self-destructive and provides a striking example of redundancy, underdevelopment and under-utilization of potentials. The bottom line of intellectual sexism is that, women are taught to idealize masculinized command and control to become a good and efficient in their social pursuits. This eventually became suggestive of an error that equates masculinity with superior cognitive potentials and intellectual strengths.

It is indisputable that a person can only become more knowledge intensive, when he or she depends on the social academic institution, to create knowledge, educate the people and provide the learning resources necessary for coordinate relationships. After all, equality, respect for human dignity, responsibility, hard work, competence, freedom etc. are the underlying foundation and principles of good knowledge. However, abuses of these cognitive standards as explicit in female objectification, biological determinism, cultural gender restriction, moral decadence, academic un-freedom, human devaluation, economic inaccessibility etc, enforces inequalities and injustices in the society with regards to gender development.


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Peer-review ratings (from 2 reviews, where a score of 100 represents the ‘average’ level):
Originality = 162.50, importance = 150.00, overall quality = 150.00
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Adadevoh, I. (2011). RETHINKING TOKENISM IN MASCULINISM.. PHILICA.COM Article number 221.

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1 Peer review [reviewer #50699unconfirmed user] added 13th February, 2011 at 16:05:28

The question of tokenism in gender philosophy as placed side by side with masculinism readily addresses the bigotry incursions of patriarchy in diverse institutional spheres although there are many other rationale for tokenism. Good write up all the same !

Originality: 7, Importance: 6, Overall quality: 6

2 Peer review [reviewer #45483unconfirmed user] added 18th February, 2011 at 09:20:59

Though inter gender analysis of tokenism is well placed but dont you think it is also more appropriate to analyze intra gender problems created by women themselves to butress your brillaint submission. This comparative analysis will make unpredjudicial readings if all factors are properly contexxtualized , although I am not oblivious of the fact that for proper limitation of scope of study you have deliberately limited your discourse to inter gender analytic space. All the same I enjoyed your highly intellectual and prolific submission on this issue.

Originality: 6, Importance: 6, Overall quality: 6

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