Possessing the Secret of Joy

608 Words3 Pages
J.R.L. Dr. v Possessing the Secret of Joy There is a brutal tradition, for the African Olinka tribe, that involves genital mutilation of the women's clitoris. This is the overall reason that causes Tashi to give in to a life of madness and corruption. It is not surprising though, that the women are the only ones needed to be genitally mutilated, because throughout history, women are frequently taken advantage of. Gender Roles plays a huge part of the novel, Possessing the Secret of Joy, by showing the reader how women are treated unfairly and what this treatment can cause to the women. In this novel, Alice Walker portrays how society sees men as the dominant gender and how women are merely sex slaves and servants. The main reason for the female circumcision is to satisfy the men in the tribe needs. If it were up to most women, they would not go through this ritual, but unfortunately, they need to, according to the Olinkan tribe. The women get this done to their body so they are “cleansed”, so a man is able to marry them. For example, when M’Lissa is talking about why Tashis’s sister, Dura, needed her circumcision,” "'If Dura is not bathed ... no one will marry her'"(Walker, 253). Another thing the Olinkan people do during women circumcision is sewing their vaginas tighter so that it is more pleasure for the men during intercourse. For example, when Tashi talks about being sewn tighter, “my doctor sewed me up again, much as I’d been fastened originally”(60). This shows how the women are suppose to please the men no matter how much gruesome pain the women go through, therefore making wives a sort of ‘sex slave’. Alice Walker’s overall message, that men and women get treated unequally, sticks out like a sore thumb. One way she shows this message is by showing how men were allowed to have multiple wives. For example, in the beginning when Tashi is reciting a
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