We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Book Review)
This post has been updated for International Women's Day as of March 8, 2018.
Note: What Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said about Trans Women does not negate the fact that when I read this book, ALL WOMEN are included in my liberation work. Feminism does not (and should not) hold space for people who do not understand the nuances of other people's life experiences. This post was originally written well before her comments.
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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is not afraid to step on some toes. The Nigerian author uses her platform to uplift issues she is passionate about. If you follow her work, you'll know she is very passionate about gender equally. For her, any equality starts with feminism.
We Should All Be Feminists is an unapologetic declaration of feminist power. It is a collection of short essays adapted from a 20 minute, 2012 TedxEuston talk. In her book, she recounts childhood stories of discrimination and "othering." She uses her personal stories as examples in ways to enact social change. Although it's only 52 pages short, when you stop seeing this book as small, you realize it has so much to unpack.
What I loved most about this book is the idea that saving the world will start with saving women. We Should All Be Feminists is a true embodiment of my goals as a woman, and as an ally to other women. She talks about changing the culture around the way we shame girls and how we need to place equal attention on raising feminist boys. (This isn't some new and radical idea. Michelle Obama recently said something similar: "It's like the problem in the world today is we love our boys, and we raise our girls.")
Adichie stole my heart when she said that we should do away with the word emasculation. To me, it has always had an air of chaos, where neither the man nor woman in the situation would want to relay harm, but both are entangled in some sort of figurative form of combat. We worry about hurting men's feelings more so that engaging in dialogue with them. This leads into her larger thoughts on social language, or how we talk about things differently when it involves women versus men, even in the same situations.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is sounding the call, and reminding us that there is quite a bit of work left to be done. The inspiration I gain after reading (and re-reading) those 52 pages is limitless, and beautiful, and makes me want to do crazy things like open a bookstore and save the world. It’s also a nice short text to review anytime you are feeling beaten down by the patriarchy. You can check out her website here for more on this feminist icon.
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About the Author
Black & Bookish is the brainchild of Antoinette Scully, educator and lover of all things bookish. She is on a quest to fill your bookshelves with beloved authors of the African Diaspora. When she's not hanging out online, she's living it up as the mother of two rambunctious girls and wife of a local filmmaker.