An eBook short.
What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun.
With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences—in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad—offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike.
Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists
Though rooted in the backdrop of Nigerian culture, We Should All Be Feminists offers not only a universal reach, but a current perspective when it comes to gender inequality. Like others who have come across this little gem, I found this book insightful, thought provoking and relatable.
Though the hurdles and restrictions I face in America differ from that of Nigeria, it was difficult to read the way in which a mere class monitor position (that she rightfully earned) when she was 9-years-old was passed over to a boy in her class based solely on fact that her classmate was male. Being born with a quick mind and an even quicker tongue, I doubt that without the years of practicing the act of counting to ten (sometimes five) in my head that I would be able to respond or graciously address the systematic gender injustice Adichie describes.
Fast forwarding several years later as she began her writing career, Adichie also speaks about the voices of the “well-meaning” individuals with potent, narrowed-mind advice to toss her way whom believed that a woman calling attention to the lack of respect and a voice would only bring her negative attention in her life.
Putting aside the criticized, tunnel vision assumptions these people had on what the word feminist truly means, I loved that Adichie continues to challenge those perspectives by turning the negative ignorance into an almost positive indifference.
Becoming not simply a Feminist, but a Happy African Feminist, then a Happy African Feminist Who Does Not Hate Men, and a Happy African Feminist Who Does Not Hate Men And Who Likes To Wear Lip Gloss And High Heel For Herself And Not For Men.
Looking past the humor in the run-on titles that Adichie created, it made me realized that this is something quite a few people do when it comes to feminism and how most people still do not fully understand the meaning behind the word or what feminists are speaking out about.
It’s an equality among the sexes. There, I said it. The secret is out. Now if you’re still lost, I can explain it a bit further. It’s a desire or calling for a deconstruction of the social normalities and expectations that we have placed on both women and men since the beginning of time.
(Note: Intersectional Feminism covers the inequalities not only among the sexes, but across several/all sections: gender, race, sexual orientation etc. with the belief that none of them are or should be addressed independently as they are all connected and vital to the discussion. And as with all things, Feminism offers a number of other facets that correlate exclusively to certain groups.)
One example Adichie uses in her book is in regard to leadership in the past and leadership of the present:
“The person more qualified to lead is not the physically stronger person. It is the more intelligent, the more knowledgeable, the more creative, more innovative. And there are not hormones for those attributes.”
The hope for equality among the sexes spans across all platforms and mediums, from education, employment, and domestic to books, video games, Television and Film.
Another thing I realized while reading this book was the fact that many people are simply not aware of the imbalance, as with Adichie’s friend, Louis who did not fully realize the significant difference in the treatment of women in his society.
Most, as Adichie puts it, likely see it as a norm. This type of conditioning, of only seeing the same type of person (male) in a position of leadership, power, entertainment, starring roles, etc. regrettably reflects upon the young minds (girls and boys) who might not be able to see or envision a different picture. (this template, of course, can be applied to the low-level of cultural and ethnic diversity in our country across all platforms as well.)
What’s more, often we act based on what we act in ways that we believe we should act instead of staying true to the people we are. Adichie calls for a reform of these prescribed gender templates that we’ve grown accustomed to living by in favor of “a fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves.”
If this book acts as merely a beginner’s guide to anyone that is looking to better understand what feminism is or someone simply looking for quality insight within a quick read, I highly recommend picking up We Should All Be Feminists.
Have you already read this book and others by Chimamanda? If so, I’d loved to know what other books you’ve picked up by her.
Thanks so much for stopping by.
Until the next post,