Okoloma looked at me and said, “You know, you’re a feminist.” It was not a compliment. I could tell from his tone—the same tone with which a person would say, “You’re a supporter of terrorism.”
“We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a great essay that explains feminism with the goal of removing the negative stereotypes surrounding it.
About the Essay
Title: “We Should All Be Feminists”
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Genre: nonfiction, feminism, sociology
My Rating: 4/5 stars
When I was younger, I was hesitant to label myself a “feminist” because of the negative stereotypes surrounding it and because growing up in the United States I never felt that I was oppressed by being female. Because… I wasn’t. But inconvenienced or slighted at times? Sure. (Looking at you, presumptuous, “you must be smart as sh*t, a white girl taking E&M…” boy from my physics class)
The truth is, however, that the world at large needs feminism. There are so many women around the world who are stripped of their human rights because of their gender.
And even in countries like the US in which the situation for women is more equal, there are cultural biases that remain in our society and that I think we could benefit from working to end:
Because I am female, I’m expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Marriage can be a good thing, a source of joy, love, and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage, but we don’t teach boys to do the same?
We praise girls for virginity but we don’t praise boys for virginity (and it makes me wonder how exactly this is supposed to work out, since the loss of virginity is a process that usually involves two people of opposite genders).
Many of us think that the less feminine a woman appears, the more likely she is to be taken seriously.
Overall this essay was an insightful and worthwhile read– I’d especially recommend it to people who associate feminism with misandry/extreme positions or with certain political leanings that they might disagree with.
I think removing the stigma and political connotation of the term “feminism” would be a net positive; after all, I’m sure most people would be supportive of equality between the sexes and stepping back from rigid gender expectations.
Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.
So I’m proud to say I’m a feminist. And I think you should be as well!
I would recommend this book to pretty much everyone. It’s a very quick read too.
(On a side note, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has another great TED Talk on representation in literature called “The Danger of a Single Story.” It’s brilliantly written and changed the way that I think about diversity in books. I would highly recommend it!)
Have you read We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments.
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