BOOK REVIEW: WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS by CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE
BOOK: We Should All Be feminists
AUTHOR: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
GENRE: Non Fiction/Essay
ISBN : 9780008115289
FIRST PUBLISHED : 2014
PUBLISHER: Vintage Books
Feminism. This is a subject that is often misunderstood. Vocal feminists are sometimes mocked and teased, and called all manner of names by folks who don’t get the concept behind feminism. Feminists advocate for women empowerment. They are pro-equality. Feminism has helped a lot of girls and women rise world over. It has helped the girl child to beat stereotypes, and made her achieve what society might have initially thought impossible.
This book, “We Should All Be Feminists” by the accomplished Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is a modified version of a talk she gave in December 2012 at the TEDxEuston .
Chimamanda is a story teller. A very gifted story teller. She is the type of author who makes one addicted to their works. You read one of her books and are forced to look for any other material published under her name. She is that good. She starts the book sharing how she first came across the word “Feminist”. It was Okoloma, a childhood friend of hers who had called her that. Fourteen year old Chimamanda didn’t know who or what a feminist was then. she later looked up the word feminist in a dictionary when she went home.
Chimamanda uses examples in her life to expound why we need feminism. She tells of a story when she was in primary school. Her teacher had given a test and promised that whoever scored highest in the test, would be made class monitor. Chimamanda scored the highest in the test, but to her surprise, the teacher said that the class monitor had to be a boy. Chimamanda wanted to be the class monitor, but the teacher didn’t allow that. Why? despite scoring the highest, she was a female, and so could not be made a monitor. The boy was made the class monitor. That was unfair, but it was normal. “If we do something over and over again, it becomes normal… If we keep seeing only men as heads of corporations, it starts to seem ‘natural’ that only men should be heads of corporations.” She says.
Misconceptions Of Feminism
In her book/speech, Chimamanda mentioned some misconceptions about feminism. They are not true. They are often peddled by people who don’t understand what feminism is about.
- That feminists are unhappy because they can’t find husbands
- feminism is un-African. Feminism in Africa has been influenced by western books.
- Feminists hate men.
- Feminists hate bras (ridiculous thinking).
- Feminists hate African culture.
- Feminists think women should always be in charge.
- Feminists don’t wear make up, don’t shave and are always angry (Haha.. What?).
- Feminists don’t use deodorant.
“A thousand years ago. Because human beings lived then in a world in which physical strength was the most important attribute for survival; the physically stronger person was more likely to lead. And men in general are physically stronger. (There are of course many exceptions.) Today, we live in a vastly different world. The person more qualified to lead is not the physically stronger person. It is the more intelligent, the more knowledgeable, the more creative, more innovative. And there are no hormones for those attributes. A man is as likely as a woman to be intelligent, innovative, creative. We have evolved. But our ideas of gender have not evolved very much.” Reads a paragraph in the book.
This book is such a short read. It’s that which can be completed in hours, and re-read over and over because it helps those who had no idea of what feminism is, open their eyes. Chimamanda breaks down everything that even the youngest of minds can understand. The author helps one picture the whole ideology of feminism. She helps us understand why preaching about and practicing equality should be a norm. Girls shouldn’t be fighting for their rights, society should recognize that the girl child has the same capabilities as the boy. Women should embrace their femininity, and not live in fear like slaves.
Feminism plays a significant role in today’s world. It helps women be aware that yes, I am a woman, but that does not make me weak or lesser than men. I know my rights and freedoms, I know I can achieve this and no one should stop me from aiming higher. That’s what feminism teaches us. Feminism is for equal opportunities for both genders, not putting the both boy child down while only concentrating with the girl. I’ve heard of this crazy fallacy that feminists are rebels. I ask, how? That feminists are bitter and always plan for the downfall of men. Really? These are lies. Real feminists want to see a world where both men and women work to better the living of everyone. Some people confuse Feminism with misandry. Maybe out of ignorance, or misinformation. Misandry is very different from feminism. And no, it’s not just women who preach and practice feminism, men too can be feminists. We have men who are pro equality, and they support feminism, and all its ideas. Like the great Chimamanda says; we should all be feminists :-).