Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie defines a feminist as “a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.”
Prior to reading this book, feminism is an ideology that is vague for me. I’ve been hearing it mentioned by numerous shows that I watched and books that I read and every time I always get a different meaning. Those changing bits of information that I get makes it even harder for me to actually understand it. You may probably be thinking, “Hey man, there’s Google!” but that’s easier said than done. I tried and it was just this concept, after concept, after concept which made it all too confusing, if not contrasting. Considering that, I only have an inkling of what it is and I am not sure what the real concept is. It’s that word that you are familiar with and you tell yourself that you know the meaning though in reality, you’re confuse. This book, effective in being short but straightforward, made me understand the core concept of what feminism is. It’s not at all complicated as I was expecting. I agree with people saying that this should be a required reading for every student. This is the second book I finished for the #DiverseAThon and my first Chimamanda Ngozi Adiechie.
The book talks about gender standards and misconceptions about feminism in a way that is persuasive but not at all preachy. She used her personal experiences in Nigeria and other places she’s been to in giving a backbone to her points. She gave facts and raised questions that will make you think and will allow you to form your own opinion. Enlightening, for me, is the right word to describe this book. This book made me understand what feminism is despite and what it is not.
This 52-page book is a modified version of the talk delivered by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at Tedx talk in the UK last 2012. Listening to her deliver her speech, it’s not hard to feel her warmth and sincerity. She delivered her speech eloquently and naturally. If you have a couple of minutes to spare, I definitely recommend you watch it. Talking about one of the most debated topic, for that matter controversial, she managed to discuss it directly and delivered her speech in a compelling way. It’s very brief but the message is very powerful. One specific point that he raised that really caught my attention wwas about how men are taught to take in charge and care for women who are always considered by the society as the weaker gender.
The book points out that everything starts with how we raise our children. We should not let them conform with the “default” role of their gender given to them by the society. We should not let sociey tell them what they can or they can’t do solely because of their gender. As how the author puts it, ”The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognize how we are.” We maybe biological different but that doesn’t warrant one a right to be dominant over the other. “Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage.” as Adichie puts it. If the society understands that, that there’s no dominant gender, equality can be achieved.
“Gender matters everywhere in the world. And I would like today to ask that we should begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start: we must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently.”
– We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
In no way in the book did I feel like she’s pitting the genders against each other. She just emphasized the clear division between genders. She believes that equality can only be achieved if the society as a whole accepts the equality of the two sexes. Women shouldn’t be fighting for rights that, in the first place, they deserve should be given to them with no questions ask. As how the author puts it, “I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.” Men should accept women as equal with no reservations. Feminism is about giving equal opportunities to both genders. Society must recognize everyone’s capabilities regardless of their gender.
I can’t remember reading a single book wherein I agreed to everything it said. This is one of the books that will definitely stay with me in a while. Looking forward to reading more of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s works.
I recommend this book to everyone regardless if you consider yourself a feminist or not, regardless of your views and regardless of your gender.
“Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.”
– We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
5 stars out if 5.
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Release Year: February 2015
No. of Pages: 52 pages
About the Author:
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian author. Her best known novels are Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Americanah (2013).
She was born in Enugu, Nigeria, the fifth of six children to Igbo parents. She studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. At nineteen, Chimamanda left for the U.S. to study communication at Drexel University in Philadelphia for two years, then went on to pursue a degree in communication and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University. Chimamanda graduated summa cum laude from Eastern in 2001, and then completed a master’s degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.
It was during her senior year at Eastern that she started working on her first novel, Purple Hibiscus , which was published in October 2003.
Chimamanda was a Hodder fellow at Princeton University during the 2005-2006 academic year, and earned an MA in African Studies from Yale University in 2008. (Goodreads)