Portrayal of Women in Selected Songs of Kenyan Male Artistes

Kanyi Thiong’o



This article analyses how Kenyan male artistes portray and appear to view women as evidenced in their songs about women. An application of social realism, Judith Butler’s theory of performativity, Derrida’s approach of alterity, and Lakoff’s theory of metaphor informs the analysis. Songs mark almost all spheres of life in Kenya. It is therefore, necessary to examine how the male artistes in the Kenyan society construct women in their songs. This can provide a window through which a better examination and understanding of the self and the other can be achieved by examining the gender discourse that prevails in the unconscious expressions of the artiste. This is because songs can be viewed as honest confessions of what usually remains concealed in the self, about the other. It is hereby observed that male artistes are always engaged in an internal dialogue that attempts to define women from masculine precincts. These masculine dialogues manifest themselves in songs where the subsumed addressee is a plurality of the self (the male artiste) and the other (the women subject). The song is therefore, an interchange of a gendering process that voices its inner tensions, arguments, fears, hopes, dilemmas and ambitions through the song.

Key Words: Men, Women, Songs, Viewership, Metaphor

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