Rating: 5 Stars
Genre: Non-fiction // Essay
Published: July 2014
Adapted from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDx talk. This powerful essay explores feminism and a woman’s journey. You can watch the video here. She is such a lovely speaker and I enjoyed hearing her words spoken aloud. Both forms of this essay are powerful and I urge you to consume the one most easily accessible to you.
This is the book that I want to give to everyone I meet who claims they don’t understand feminism and the vast differences in how women are treated in daily life. This is the essay everyone needs to read/hear. Mandatory reading material.
Not long ago, I wrote an article about being young and female in Lagos. And an acquaintance told me that it was an angry article, and I should not have made it so angry. But I was unapologetic. Of course it was angry. Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice. I am angry. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change. But I am also hopeful, because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to remake themselves for the better.
I kept wanting to scream “Yes!” out loud when I agreed with something I read (which was pretty much every page). It would have made for interesting listening to those around me so instead, I kept quiet.
I hardly ever write in my books. But I couldn’t help it in this one. I took a pencil to underline, bracket, and notate the margins.
There are slightly more women than men in the world- 52 per cent of the world’s population is female but most of the positions of power and prestige are occupied by men.
This 50-page essay (it’s not REALLY 50 pages because the book is tiny and the front is big) was a great way to start the new year. It was the second book I read in 2017 and how I wish I had read it sooner. Now, it’s not perfect, by any means, feminism is a lot to take in and understand. But it’s a starting point. It’s a good strong starting point.
And this is how to start: we must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently.
Adichie goes on to talk about how we raise and teach our children based on their genders. We raise boys to be hard, to value masculinity and disregard their “soft” side. They cannot be vulnerable. We teach our girls to be likable and to shrink themselves to allow for men to thrive. This is what I try to explain to people but can never find the right words. I value this text and what it stands for.
It feels like Adichie is having a conversation with the listener/reader. The writing isn’t preachy or condescending. The text is not dense. It is not unreadable.
Instead of watching the inauguration today, read this. Or if you need to get out the house or need a break from work, check out some art museums. If you can’t march tomorrow, stand in solidarity for those who are. It is more important than ever to stand and fight for your beliefs.
Anger, the tone said, is particularly not good for a woman. If you are a woman, you are not supposed to express anger, because it is threatening.
As I was writing this, I may have been elsewhere on the Internet, too. And I’m so glad I was because I just read an article that states there’s a bookstore in Portland, OR that will be giving away free copies of this book on a first-come, first-serve basis. Check out the article here.
You may already have disagreed with something I’ve said or summarized. But please watch the Tedx Talk. It may open your eyes to a new perspective.
Have you read anything else by Adichie? What would you recommend?
How are you spending Inauguration Day?