Friday, March 24, 2017

We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We Should All Be Feminists
Title: We Should All Be Feminists
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 49
Genre: Nonfiction
How I Found It: Not sure
Date Completed: 3/8/17

Summary: Adichie did not always identify as a feminist. Growing up in Africa, the word carried the same negative connotations it does in places here in the States. As she grew, though, she came to a better understanding of what feminism means and why it is important. This is her explanation of those thoughts. 

What I Thought: This book is fantastic. I read it in one afternoon - on International Women's Day, in fact. While I did not technically participate in the strike that day (I felt that teaching my Critical Thinking classes and having a few minutes of discussion about the day would be a far greater form of activism than staying home), I did give myself a couple hours in the afternoon to indulge. I did not do housework or answer emails or grade in that time like I normally do. Instead, I sat on the couch and I read this whole book. 

It's not long. Not even 50 pages. Adichie's style is very conversational, too, so it reads quickly. It was the perfect way to mark the day. 

Adichie expresses so much of what I feel about feminism here. Feminism is simply believe women should be treated with the same respect and equality of men. Period. As with anything, there are varying strengths of that position. Adichie steers clear of the infighting within feminists ideologies, though. She is presenting feminism in its most basic form and explaining why it matters. She talks about systemic sexism and how it shapes us. She talks about the way we raise our children. She talks about the perception of women in the workplace and beyond. And she does it all as though you are sitting in a coffee shop having a casual chat. She is not preachy (to my ears). She is not harsh. She offers the most accessible, understandable description of feminism I have read. 

Everyone should read this. Everyone. It's fast, it's easy, and it really clarifies a lot of the misconceptions that often come when you identify as a feminist. For me, there was nothing particularly groundbreaking here, but I great appreciated her articulation of this issue's importance. 

Quotes I Loved:
  • "If we do something over and over, it becomes normal. If we see the same thing over and over, it becomes normal. If only boys are made class monitor, then at some point we will all think, even if unconsciously, that the class monitor has to be a boy."
  • "We spend too much time teaching girls to worry about what boys think of them. But the reverse is not the case."
  • "I often wear clothes that men don't like or don't 'understand.' I wear them because I like them and because I feel good in them. The 'male gaze,' as a shaper of my life's choices, if largely incidental." Man, would I love to get to that mental place!
Rating: ★★★★★
Will I Re-Read: Yes

A Reduced Review: A succinct, transparent look at what it means to be a feminist and why it is important to not demonize the word. 

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