"We should all be feminists" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

"We should all be feminists" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Book Review | We should all be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | Personal and powerful by Mathilde

We Should All Be Feminists is a short essay written by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in which she explains her definition of feminism.

You hate men, you hate bras, you hate African culture, you think women should always be in charge, you don’t wear make-up, you don’t shave, you’re always angry, you don’t have a sense of humour, you don’t use deodorant.

CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE


WHY SHOULD YOU READ WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS?

  1. You want to take a glimpse at feminism
  2. You seek a short educative essay

DON’T RECOMMEND IF…

  1. You can’t free 30mn for a feminist essay
  2. You have seen her TED Talk and hated it

WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS BOOK REVIEW IN SHORT (EVEN SHORTER)

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The notion of ‘feminism’ is full of stereotypes. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie clearly describes how negatively perceived being a feminist is. I wish everybody could understand what feminism means for all genders so that we could all be aiming to achieve this positive change.

Everybody could read this book and understand. We Should All Be Feminists is more of an introduction to the topic than a book that will answer all your questions. But it’ll take you only 30mn to read it and I really think everyone should!

HOW I PICKED WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS

I’m not sure to be clear on what feminism means, and I feel like it’s something that I need to change. The subject is discussed everywhere, by everyone. We all seem to have our own definition of feminism, some moderate and some other more extreme. I really feel like I need to read more about it, hear more diverse opinions about it because I want to be able to have this discussion and share this positive vision around me.

I’ve seen We Should All Be Feminists everywhere on ‘Bookstagram’ and many reviews qualified this book as important to read. I wanted to pick one that would not be too biased or too decided, so I decided to add this essay to my birthday wish list! When I saw it among my gifts it caught my attention: I wasn’t expecting it to be such a short book! Surprised? Yes! Disappointed? Hell no!

WHAT YOU CAN LEARN AND WHAT I COULD RELATE TO

Perceptions of anger and agressivity

There were of course many things that I could relate to in this book, and one of them is the judgement over women’s anger.

Let’s be honest: if a woman gets mad for ‘no reason’ many people (still, in 2020) ask her if she has her period, or think that she acts crazy. If a man does the same we’ll say he’s hot-blooded or have a strong personality, or even that he’s charismatic…
IN GENERAL. It’s not systematically true, but I often noticed it around me.


We spend too much time telling girls that they cannot be angry or aggressive or tough, which is bad enough, but then we turn around and either praise or excuse men for the same reasons.

CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE


Being ‘respectable’

I’ve heard so many friends of mine saying that once they’re done ‘having fun’ they’ll want to settle with ‘a good woman’: she better not have had as many partners as they did.

Of course, not all men think like that but around me, they’re pretty numerous. How unfair is that and how is it supposed to work out?

If we have sons, we don’t mind knowing about their girlfriends. But our daughters’ boyfriends? God forbid. (…) We police girls. We praise girls for virginity but we don’t praise boys for virginity’.

CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE


 

The scary feminist

Again, the notion of ‘feminism’ is full of stereotypes. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie clearly describes how negatively perceived being a feminist is.


You hate men, you hate bras, you hate African culture, you think women should always be in charge, you don’t wear make-up, you don’t shave, you’re always angry, you don’t have a sense of humour, you don’t use deodorant.

CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE


But I’m lucky enough to say that I can’t relate to everything she says. For instance, I’ve never been told that my success or my opinion could scare men partners. And surprisingly, this book gives me hope.

If we keep seeing only men as heads of corporations, it starts to seem ‘natural’ that only men should be heads of corporations.

CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE


I just wish everybody could understand what feminism means for all genders so that we could all aim to achieve this positive change.

CONFESSION TIME

I find the subject of feminism fascinating, not only because of its purpose (progress) but also for its complexity.

It disturbs me sometimes how nuanced and cautious I feel like I have to be when talking about feminism, genders, or even sexuality.
I honestly often find it stressful to read about people’s opinion on these (still very controversial) subjects because I’m worried that they get blamed or hurt someone for saying the wrong thing (when it’s unintentional) or not putting enough nuances.

Even Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in “We Should All Be Feminists” uses things like ‘in general’ or ‘(there are of course many exceptions)’. And I am also over-careful whenever I feel like talking about a ‘sensitive’ topic. (See my big “IN GENERAL” a few paragraphs before). It’s terrible that it’s that risky to take a stance!

Can somebody relate to what I’m saying or am I being paranoiac?

 

Written by Mathilde, creator of "Just Another Good Story".

Follow Mathilde on Instagram at @just.another.good.story

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