We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
5 of 5 stars
Whoa! I loved this essay. It is actually the speech she gave at TEDx in 2012 (see full video below of that presentation). I wore my blue highlighter out almost highlighting important passages.
We Should All Be Feminists explores Chimamanda’s feminine experiences and reactions to the expectations of women, both as a child and in her adult life in Nigeria. She discusses the ways that young girls are essentially groomed by society and family to be treated as second-class citizens to their male counterparts, in relationships, careers, and as social beings. And how a strong-willed woman (especially one of color) is seen as intimidating and “too ambitious”. That concept is in so many cultures all over the world.
Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
An important passage to me was “how the word feminist is so heavy with baggage, negative baggage: you hate men, you hate bras, you hate African culture, you think women should always be in charge, you don’t wear make-up, you don’t shave, you’re always angry, you don’t have a sense of humor, you don’t use deodorant.” Some of that seems silly but people actually think that. And as Chimamanda says there are no hormones for leadership. A woman can lead just as successfully as a man.
Additionally, she touches on how young men are not only taught to expect this submissive behavior in women and to use it to uplift and sustain a fragile ego, but that it also doesn’t allow any room for natural, human emotions such as fear and what society perceives as “weakness”. Boys and men must convey an emotional wall to be considered hard and tough, which continues to devalue their perspectives of women as their equals.
I think we really need to help young men and women value and accept their unique identities and nurture them because a culture that implies that women are only valued and worthy of respect if they are physically beautiful, educated but not threatening, married, and domestic — simultaneously, is not a culture that respects equality.
Read this for yourself to challenge your beliefs on gender and how we raise children in our society to interact with other genders.
The highly acclaimed, provocative New York Times bestseller from the award-winning author of Americanah. In this personal, eloquently-argued essay–adapted from the much-admired TEDx talk of the same name–Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. Drawing extensively on her own experiences and her deep understanding of the often masked realities of sexual politics, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman now–and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.