“The biggest issue with writing about feminism when you don’t really subscribe to it is that you are from the get-go, wary of the barrage of informed response from the educated women and men that consider themselves feminist. You ought to think twice about talking about feminism because any kind of disagreement automatically makes you an enemy of feminism and feminists.” – Anon
We Should All Be Feminists is a book by famed
Nigerian female author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and is taken from a TEDx talk she gave on the subject of feminism.
If it had another name, it might probably be called; “An Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Feminism”. I say this because it seems each one of us is an idiot when it comes to this subject. Chimamanda in this book tries to set the record straight about what it is.
She shares her own history, that of friends and family and describes how she came to embrace feminism and how she believes it applies to everyone. Her book attempts to debunk the mysteries about feminism and the arguments against it.
Reading her story gives you one of two responses. Feminism is very necessary or feminism is very hyped.
Why do I say so? Her examples are subjective but are applied as though they are what’s going on everywhere. Either the reader identifies with them and agrees or doesn’t identify and can’t agree.
The story about Nigerian waiters frowning on women who eat food by themselves in a restaurant shocked me. I tried to imagine whether in Kampala that would happen because, in Kampala, the real issue is, a restaurant wants to make a sale and is not concerned with whether you’ve come alone or with a man.
In a certain restaurant I went to with a lady friend, she asked for the bill and it was brought to her. The next time we went there, when I asked for the bill, it was still brought to her even though this time I was paying.
The story about Chimamanda being unable to become class monitor because she was a girl is also something I would find strange because growing up in school, we had several class monitors who were girls, even head girls, who went on to beat us all academically and are running their shows now.
In Kampala, tell me which woman would sell her house just so she could get married.
As a matter of fact, I felt that the book was a strong indictment against Nigerian culture. It seems that the gender/patriarchy issue is overgrown in Nigeria and thus feminism is hyped for those who may not identify.
Chimamanda does well to plug holes. She makes very convincing arguments against anti-feminist arguments. For example, she posits that if a Black man has struggles unique to him as a black man, why is it wrong for a woman to speak out against the struggles she faces as a woman? There are very many other arguments like these that she reasons against well.
The book is a good argument for feminism. To be fair though, it is 49 pages and in my opinion, can hardly be called a Feminist Magna Carta. While it makes very many good arguments, there are other nitty gritty’s that have to be overcome to resolve this issue.
You can find the original TEDx delivery here.