I feel completely and utterly in awe of this incredible woman after reading this book. ‘We Should All be Feminists’ is a modified version of a talk delivered by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in 2012. It is powerful, thought provoking, life affirming and empowering.
Being only 50 pages long, this book is a quick read but is jam-packed full of personal anecdotes, tackling everyday stereotypes on what it means to be a feminists along with discussions of other stigmas such as masculinity, women and finance and feminism in Nigerian culture. Adichie draws on her own – and her friends – experiences in Nigeria and America, giving even greater purchase to her discussion.
Adichie acknowledges the negative connotations of the word ‘Feminist’ which is too often used as a tool to bring down strong women. It, for some people, connotes the idea of man hating women who don’t wear bras or lipstick. The concept of Feminism has therefore been stigmatised and to be a Feminist was weaponised by those who simply do not understand.
I love Adichie’s definition of what being a Feminist means:
Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better.
Addressing gender inequality globally is the responsibility of both women and men. There is no denying this. We must be proactive in creating change within society to make the world a fairer place for our children, where the hardships faced by a daughter are not exacerbated when compared to a son, purely because of gender.
Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice.
Although so much progress has been made in the last 50 years, we are still a far cry from gender equality. To demonstrate this, I want to share an experience of my own.
My (male) partner and I had just finished our meal at a lovely restaurant and asked for the bill. It was my turn to pay for tea! At this point, my partner visited the mens room whilst I sat patiently at our table. The waiter did not bring the bill – I could see him hovering around our table holding a bill in his hand. When my partner returned, the waiter approached us and tried to pass the bill to him directly. My partner refused. I explained that I was paying. He told me he felt more comfortable handing the bill to a man. I asserted that our meal would not be paid for – with my hard earned money from my bank – unless the bill was either handed to me or placed on our table. He put the bill down in front of my partner. This was in 2019.
I am angry. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change.
I walked away from this experience completely furious. I had paid this backwards establishment my hard earned money in return of an experience I thought I would never encounter. This is just one example – I really could write a book about my other experiences of this nature.
However, Adichie’s book is life affirming and fills me with so much hope. We need to more openly discuss gender and the particular challenges it presents. Her discussion on what outfits to wear in order to be taken seriously in the workplace resonate with me deeply. Her acknowledgement of toxic masculinity is powerful and incites change. Her language of faith for a more equal future is uplifting and inspiring.
This is a short read and yet I found myself hanging from each and every word. ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ is absolutely brilliant and this review hardly does it justice. More people need to read this book.
I can’t wait to get my hands on more titles by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie!
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