African Masculinity And The African Continent

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The African continent has been riddled with western ideologies and stereotypes for centuries. Even before the institution of colonization was implemented across the continent, western visitors who saw the world through their western ideologies and “eyes” labeled African men, women, and societies as barbaric, and inferior. These ideologies of Africans continued from slavery, to colonization and even into the ideology of western nations today. Africans today are working to change the ideologies placed on them by westerners and create their own definition of what it means to be an African.
Through photographs, African artists such as Rotimi Fani-Kayode are working to dispel ideologies about African masculinity that is now ingrained in the minds of many westerners. His photograph Adebiyi (1989), which translates to “crown like this” is one example of art that counters western ideologies about African men. He uses a striking image of a masculine man in a feminine pose to defiantly resist western ideologies of African masculinity and sexuality. His photograph is among the set of tools being used by many Africans to reimagine Africans in media across the world and redefine western ideologies about African men.
In his essay “The White of Their Eyes“ Stuart Hall defines ideology as “a socially created idea that is reproduced” (1990). Ideologies are present in every society and as they are repeated, they can generate and produce relationships of inequality. An “us” versus “them”
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