Constructing Gender through Proverbs and Folktales in Tazrwalt (South of Morocco)
Ibn Tofail University, Kenitra, Morocco
This book focuses on the social construction of gender in folklore. Based on culture-reflector approach and critical ethnography, the investigation scrutinizes the social message of folklore. It examines the portrayal of women in two forms of folk literature, proverbs and folktales. It aims at showing whether folk tradition is biased against women or not.
The study is organized into five chapters with different subjects. While the first and second chapters constitute the theoretical part, the fourth and the fifth chapters are concerned with the empirical part. The third chapter is about the methodology adopted in this book. As the study is associated with ethnography, it adopts different data collection techniques, namely participant and non-participant observation, the interview and questionnaire. In fact, it uses methodological pluralism by combining qualitative and quantitative approaches to have a profound knowledge of Tazrwalt people.
The study concludes that in addition to the function of folklore in providing information about a culture, it has also other functions, namely indoctrination, socialization and enculturation. The book reveals that there are many stereotypes attached to women in folklore. The latter inevitably stresses their subordination and inferiority. Therefore, it is biased against women regardless of their social status. The study also unfolds that folk tradition enshrines the values of patriarchy. It also unveils that besides misrepresenting women, folklore is also a scope for the subversion of gender-related stereotypes.
The book suggests that an all-inclusive study should not only focus on gender but also on other variables such as age, social class and level of education. It also suggests that there should be more research on rural women and proposes that it’s high time to take into consideration their economic, social and individual differences. It also puts forward that, though women are negatively portrayed in folklore, their potential should not be underestimated; yet, it should be overemphasized. In fact, the present book shows that women are ready to improve their situation but the government should help them by establishing more schools, organizations and associations to ensure social equity. Their situation can also be improved but with the help of men who should encourage women.
ISBN 9783862882557. LINCOM Cultural Studies 07. 338pp. 2012.