Moolaade of religion and the status of women.

Moolaade
is film directed and written by a famous Senagalese writer Ousmane Sembene. It
addresses the subject of female genital circumcision a common practice in
African countries from Egypt to Nigeria. The film consists of politics and
anger showing that how such cruel practices still exist in this modern world. This
film also consists of deep affection for human nature as Colle tries to avoid
her children for getting circumcised although at the end she is unable to do
so. This film is shot or takes place in a village in Africa probably a
fictional set and also follows the story of a woman named Colle, challenging
the cultural norm of female genital circumcision. In the film there are several
scenes showing us that people in rural areas still make use of technology. The
two main topics I am going to emphasize in this film are the role of religion
and the status of women. And also how are women working towards changing their
circumstances and also what are the influences behind this desire for change.

This
paragraph talks about the custom in some rural parts of Africa, which some
people consider outdated and should not be practiced in this generation because
as generations pass by the mentality of humans change and also children of this
generation tend to consider this practice worthless. This film consists of
people who think that the tradition of female circumcision is outdated and
should not be practiced because it can affect life’s of some people although
this film tells us that such practices are only practiced in some Muslim lands
in Africa. Sembene represents or portrays his characters in such a deep manner especially
with heroine Colle, that it becomes a story about will and resistance. The
movie eventually never comes to the point that what has to be done with those
four girls who flee away or to Colle for Moolaade or protection. Colle’s
daughter, Amasatou is unable to proceed with her marriage until the procedure
is successfully completed and she is derided by the village women and men
alike. Colle disagrees with the village men and women that her daughter Amatsou
should be cut even though she is engaged to man returning home from France.
Colle evokes Moolaade. She ties a string of yarn across the entrance of her
house, symbolically prohibits anyone from entering and the law mentions that as
long as the girls stay inside, no one from outside has the right to come and
forcefully abduct them and force them to be cut. After doing so, her husband
rages at her questioning her that wasn’t necessary and that doing so would be
for the betterment of everyone. Although again Colle refuses to listen to him
showing that women are nothing less compared to men, she remains firm on her
decision. One thing that is clearly portrayed in the film is that if women are
bold enough whether physically or mentally they can stand a chance against men.
Throughout the film Colle remains strong and firm in her beliefs citing the
dangers and the pain that can result from the ‘purification of females’. She
remains firm in her decision to keep the four girls from being ‘purified’. Even
if that means that they are degraded and also risk the chance of getting
married.

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In
the film, the role of women in this small village in Africa is seen clearly.
The men are always sitting on stools, above the women, who sit on the ground.
It is even true for the first wife’s son who sits above his mother and other
elders. This is a good visual representation of the inferiority of women in
this community. Also this clearly visible when women encounter any male figure
they quickly bow or kneel down and also they try to avoid eye contact by
tilting their heads to show a sign of respect because they consider men to be
superior. This shows unequal power relations in society which should not be the
case, men should not be given the upper hand.  The women don’t even have enough power that
they can fight for themselves and protect their bodies from some men. Colle
gets the upper hand and also some courage to fight for her children when some
other women join to protest this practice. However the men protest against that
saying that a girl who has not been cut has no right to be married. Colle is
further humiliated by her husband who is forced by his elder brother who
insists that women need to be shown their place and should not be superior to
men. Although Colle ignores the beating and torture and still fights back at
the end she triumphs over the men by ending the practice. The quote “When there
is a will there’s a way” can be related to this movie as women in this movie no
matter what happened they still fought back.

The
role of religion that takes place in this film is the conflict between
tradition and modernity. The conflict begins when Colle realizes that her four
girls have fled the purification ceremony. Colle immediately invokes the
Moolaade or the right to give protection to who are weaker. At the heart of
Colle’s action is the conflict between traditional African values, religion and
modernity. It is usually religion that has depicted as the odds with African
culture or tradition. In this film the ways in which religion in this Islam has
been used in bringing forward those conventional African practices and belief systems
without questioning them. At first Colle is approached by the women dressed in
red directly responsible for the ritual. The Salindana appraoch Colle and
instruct her to remove the Moolaade which is symbolized by the string of yarn
which is placed in front of the doorstep of Colle’s house. The appeal of the
Salindana goes on for several days but its Colle’s selfhood which causes her to
resist the women.

The
movie prosperously highlights whether modernity in Africa is making women to
question the long-haul patriarchal unit. And to pass rituals such as female
genital mutilation which exists in large elements of Africa. With this said,
although the men of the village blame the radio for Colle’s defiance, Colle’s
and her elder’s defiance of ‘Purification’, the unrepresentative euphemism for
female genital mutilation used in the film, appears rooted only in her personal
experiences with female genital mutilation, losing two daughters because of it.
The husband’s confiscation of their wives radio’s because of Colle’s
single-handed endeavor to fight against the society for the sake of her
daughters leads the women to fortify Colle’s decision who early viewed her as
absurd. For example, in Colle’s public flogging, on one side are the women
encouraging Colle to keep standing while the salindina and the men encourage
her husband to ‘tame’ her. This is withal evinced as the radios lay in a
growing pile right in juxtaposition of the old tomb. Although her courage and
persistence is admirable and although the ending may not be as satisfying as it
sounds or as a viewer could hope for, it definitely leaves a glimmer of hope.
This powerful film is able to control or rather tackle the emotions of audience
without utilizing any inordinately violent or inappropriate language or scenes.
In the film there are several connections to technology and its presence in the
traditional village life. An example of this is the presence of radios and
later the burning of them.

The
construction of Sembene’s film is subtle and seductive. He spends little time
denouncing female circumcision, and a lot of time studying the human nature. On
the most fundamental of calibers, this is a regaling film. Not taking into
consideration of some of the practices followed by these people, they are
decent and civilized, and Sembene loves them for it. The movie contains less
outrage than regret. The film mainly fixates on circumcision albeit that maybe
not the right word in this case because the practice is still carried out in
three dozen African countries, bears no resemblance to its male obverse and is
most often referred to in the West as female genital mutilation. It involves
cutting the clitoris of girls with unsanitary sharp objects, for the purport of
reducing their sexual congeniality, which the logic goes, will make them more
faithful wives.

The fact that this can lead
to death or suffer from some horrid infections or child bearing complications
is viewed as an acceptable societal risk. Sembene, a novelist and a social
critic doesn’t wrestle with subtlety over here. It is an unapologetic declaration
against the practice and a calls to arms for African women’s rights. His script
bears this weight most directly, as Colle and other villagers seem to
address the historical record as often as they do one other. It virtually seems
impertinent to the point to note that the plot has a gaping aperture towards
the climax, and one wonders if a documentary might have been a better
conveyance for a small-budget film in which the message is this conspicuous.
Much of the humor in the film emanates from the ineffectual debates of the
council of men, who deplore Colle’s action but have been checkmated by the
invocation of Moolaade. The movie encompasses horror and heartbreak without
sacrificing its fundamental, tough-minded optimism. It withal dramatizes, with
a kind of pellucidity I have infrequently visually perceived on film, how a
society can transmute from within, how even a well-intentioned authority can
become cruel and corrupt, and above all how a single obdurate act of reflective
resistance can alter the shape of the world. “Moolaade” illuminates the agonies
of women in components of Africa, but rather than asking you to pity in their
plight, it leaves you envying their bravery and revering their resolve.