Pliability of Female Sexual Commodification in the City of Bamenda, ca. 1922-2018
Keywords:Bamenda, City, Commodification, Females, Pliability, Sex, Sexuality.
The expression of sexuality is complex and varies from one society to another. It could be fashioned by different philosophies. Liberalism and conservatism, for instance, have shaped sex practices disproportionately. In areas where liberal laws proliferated, sexuality was exuded more liberally while in parts where conservative attitudes were common, sexual actions were practiced with some degree of concealment. From any vantage point, urban-oriented spaces, in spite of national legal proscriptions, usually did not command the austere traditional ethos that guarded and constrained the expression of sexuality like in conservative (usually) rural societies where sexual probity was well-regarded. The development and expansion of rural milieus into cosmopolitan settings and functions especially from the introduction of the colonial enterprise, significantly redefined the notion of sexuality. Urbanization and its correlates like migration, economic animation, and social-status construction and generally the wish to survive in the very competitive complex urban scheme, exacerbated the urge for females to defy traditional moral norms of preserving sexuality. It is in this perspective that the paper informed by primary and secondary sources and employing a qualitative-thematic analytical approach, examines the social origins and extent to which the urban construction of the city of Bamenda provided space for an informal female sex marketing economy. The paper maintains that the resilience of female sex commodification in spite of legal and public condemnation in Bamenda was a combination of less rigorous public sexual prohibition policies, limited social welfare opportunities and economic exigencies created in the city from the colonial to the post independent periods. The paper concludes that in spite of the risks, uncertainties, derogatory inferences and criminalization of the activity by the Cameroon penal code, female sex commodification strived largely as a survival strategy in the context of an urban revolution characterized by limited access to socio-economic opportunities.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Nixon Takor Kahjum, Juliet N. Bessem
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