[508]: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


GOODREADS SUMMARY | Anchor | Paperback, 65pp. | February 3rd, 2015 | Non-fiction | 5 stars

This is not so much as a review, but a narrative of  what being a feminist means to me.

Truth be told, I’ve never been one to admit publicly that I am a feminist. Shameful, I know. But up until a couple of years ago, my impression of the word held a negative connotation. Whenever I hear of the feminist movement, I always have a vision of a group of women burning their bras and aggression manifested towards men in general. Would you believe me if I said that my voracious appetite for US politics finally brought into light what being a feminist really means? That the endless debates about fair pay is the catalyst to an eye-opening that’s been a long time coming?

If you must now, I have a liberal stand when it comes to social and economic views of the world. Having liberal beliefs make the most sense to me. I’m not partial to being constricted to conservative policies.  And from what I can surmised, the denial that there is no such thing as a pay gap between sexes is popular among conservatives (along with global warming deniers).  But, I digress.

We’ve come a long way from those times when a man earning less than a woman makes them less of a man. Far from those days when a woman is forced to stay at home to take care of the children. There are women who chose to bear children through non-conventional methods. They raise them as a single parent by choice. And yet even with these strides, women still bear the negativity that comes from raising children in a non-traditional familial structure. Some may even have to deal with ridicule. Still, the fact that we are more accepting to the reality that women CAN raise a family on their own shows how far we’ve come.

This is Ndiche’s speech at TEDxEuston in December of 2012. Can I be frank and say that had it not been to Beyoncè’s song, FLAWLESS, I’d never known of this speech. But who really cares where one finds their moment of realization or awakening? Ndiche’s speech about the meaning of feminism eloquently and succinctly erases all the negative connotations associated with the word. She explains all the bad sexist habits we’ve developed and continually nurture over the years.

This slight book is an eye-opener; an education for every man, woman, and child (it’s never too early to start). As parents, I can only hope to set an example. That my children’s capabilities should never be dictated by their sexes. But we’re also trying to be careful. Because feminism is never about competition between sexes. It’s not about girls besting boys.  It is a belief that we are all equally capable.

  • I hope it isn’t too bad me saying that I remember this author’s name because she says some things in the middle of a Beyoncé song. That’s why I immediately recognized her. I cannot say whether I am or am not a feminist myself. Sure, I stand for a lot of the ideals but I am not sure how many of them because I don’t know what that words entails completely. I think I need to enquire more knowledge, and seeing as it seems like this book straightened out a lot of things for you, then I am sure this is worth it.

  • I’ve only heard about this lady in Beyonce’s song too, and I had an instinctive feeling that she was Nigerian, and I was right! I love how Nigerian women are standing up and this speech is just beautiful. (I grew up in Nigeria so I consider it my second home, lol)

    I totally agree with the negative connotation about Feminism, and most people often mistake feminism as “women besting men”. Even my grandmother, who is pretty much the “mother superior” of our family thinks so too, and often implies that her male kids had been harder to handle and weren’t successful as her female kids.

    But yeah, now that I’m grown, I’ve learned so much that being a feminist isn’t all about that and is basically an entire different story. Would love to get my hands on this book! Thanks for sharing, Joy! 🙂

  • Brilliant review. I definitely need to read this. Her speech was utterly amazing and awe-inspiring and spot on. The definition of feminism and its connotations are so fraught due to misunderstandings, lack of knowledge or people feeling threatened. Gah. Proud feminist here!

  • I agree so much! I’m an outspoken feminist, and you have no idea how many times I’ve had to tell people that NO, I don’t hate men, and that’s not at all what feminism is about! Thank your for this blog post, Joy (:

  • Yay to feminists! I agree in the beginning, I wasn’t used to calling myself a feminist but now I’ve dedicated my blog url to it xD I’m all for women power now 🙂 I do like the sound of this book though – fantastic post overall.

  • Alysia @ Fiction Addictions

    I love this! I had the same ideas about Feminism as well, but then I took a women studies class in college (and eventually made WS my minor) and it was really eye opening to see the advances we’ve made as women, and the advances we still need to make, and how feminism differs and intersects between classes, cultures, races. It’s such an interesting topic to learn about even outside the simple need to understand feminism properly. Definitely putting this one on my list to read. 🙂

    • This one is a short one, but man. It’s packed-full of wisdom. Enjoy!

  • I know what you mean about those aggressive women. There are feminists who are all for equal rights, and there’s a second kind of feminist who will jump at every issue even if there’s nothing about it that attacks women, who seek to be superior than men. For me, feminism is about equality between both sexes, a kind of mentality where we are not defined by our genders. It’s true that compared to decades past, our society is far more “fair” to the female gender, but there are still some things that still need light to be shed upon, and there are still more people to educate. I mean, the internet alone is so full of sexist guys who think they are some kind of keyboard warriors!

    Faye at The Social Potato

    • It still is rampant, but I’m starting to see a bit more acceptance than normal. I like how everyone’s speaking for equality. Celebrities, even.

  • Feminism definitely has a negative connotation. Anytime I heard it as a kid was in a negative light – bra burners who have “penis envy.” it wasn’t until I was old enough to have my own opinions and research my own political stance that I learned what true feminism is all about. Great review! I may wind up picking this up too, even though I only like my non fiction in newspaper articles 🙂

    • This is a very short read. But one that can’t be missed. A lot of startling and brilliant wisdom in this book. So if you get the chance, borrow it from the library, even.

  • I love t his post Joy! I think this is a book that sounds like it would be really good for everyone to read, feminist or not.

    • Definitely, Ali. It’s a favour given to us by Ms. Adiche.

  • purplebook6

    That’s why I’m so grateful I’m born in the time when there’s more sex equality than before. I often discuss feminism and sex equality with my mom and grandmother and you can see how much our opinion differ, especially when it comes to my grandmother.

    This is is the first time I hear about this book (even though I heard Beyonce’s “Flawless”, lol), but it sounds like a intriguing read. Glad you enjoyed it, Joy!

    • I meant to mention that here as well. Growing up in a Filipino household where women are expected to take on the subversive role is the norm. But I’ve grown away from that ideology (thank God).

  • Wonderfully well said. I adore this woman, her speech is what finally made me realise that my own personal beliefs, opinions and “banners” were feminist all along, and I’d just been misinformed, and then too afraid to shout about it. She did another TED Talk (http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story?language=en) which I thought was also powerful, and I recently bought her novels. I need to devour anything this woman creates! R x

    • That is exactly what I slowly realized over the years. Why should I be ashamed? My definition of being a feminist is nothing to be ashamed of.

  • Gorgeous review Joy. <3 Now I am curious about this book. Probably won't read it, but I love how much you enjoyed it. I am also a feminist 🙂 Though it isn't that big of a thing in Norway. Hmph. And it has never affected me personally :p Anyway. Thank you for sharing about this book sweetie. <3

    • Oh but you must! Lol. It’s only 65 pages. You can do it!

  • I am all for the power of women, just, on equal terms and cos they are good

  • I’m glad you enjoyed this book that much, it’s not something I usually read but I confess that the topic is really interesting and I’m quite interested by all that too. thanks for sharing!

    • And it’s such a short read. I think we could all benefit from it. I hope you’ll give it a chance. 😀