It’s not widely known that Adichie is one of my favorite non-YA writers. I read Purple Hibiscus when I was an undergrad and fell in love. As I grew older, I devoured her other books like Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun. All these books touch on subjects and explore cultures I know very little about, so when I read Adichie’s books, it’s a learning experience as well. We Should All Be Feminists is not an exception.
Title: We Should All Be Feminists
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Publisher (reprint edition): Anchor
(Reprint) Release date: February 3, 2015 (first published in 2012)
Length: 52 pages (paperback)
Genre: Non-fiction, feminism
Synopsis: (from Goodreads) “In this personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-admired TEDx talk of the same name—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author of Americanah, 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.”
I haven’t listened to/watched the TEDTalk on which this book is based, but it’s now on my list, as this book had been on my list for many months. Thankfully, my local library had a copy, so I checked out this and Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions (review to come later). At first, I was disappointed these books were so small. But knowing Adichie through her works, I knew they were filled with a wealth of knowledge. I wasn’t disappointed.
I absolutely adore how Adichie uses her own experiences as a Nigerian woman in all of her works, and perhaps this book hits more at home. Not because I’m a Nigerian woman, but because I am a woman, and I felt this deep connection with each written word in this book.
For such a short read, this book hits you deep and hard. Let us not forget that we have so much more work to do before we are all truly equal.
Now, for some of my favorite quotes:
“…I am also hopeful, because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to remake themselves for the better.”
“We do a great disservice go boys in how we raise them. We stifle the humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage. We teach boys to be afraid of fear, of weakness, of vulnerability. We teach them to mask their true selves…”
“We teach girls shame. Close your legs. Cover yourself. We make them feel as though being born female, they are already guilty of something. And so girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. Who silence themselves. Who cannot say what they truly think.”
I also feel like most of us can relate to this quote: “I am trying to unlearn many lessons of gender I internalized while growing up. But sometimes I still feel vulnerable in the face of gender expectations.”
Adichie also brings up a good point toward the end of the book about culture. I won’t go into it, because she didn’t, though I feel it could definitely be a topic of discussion if she chose to expand on it.