Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A Review of 'We Should All Be Feminists' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Please note: this is a book I read in 2017.  Due to starting a new job, I kept up in reading but fell behind in blogging.  Reviews for 2018 reads will begin after the remaining 2017 reviews are posted.  Thank you for your patience!

"What does 'feminism' mean today?  That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay-- adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name-- by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun.

With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century-- one rooted in inclusion and awareness.  She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics.  Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences-- in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad-- offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike.

Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author's exploration of what it means to be a woman today-- and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists."

Please see the video below if you would like to hear this book.  This entire book is based on this TED talk.  This talk is, I think, worth a listen annually, if not more often.

Those are so many important messages to this talk/read.  But here are a couple take-aways I have at this point in my life:

Feminism is not saying that women are better than men or conversely that men are all terrible.  Feminism is saying that women are just as capable as men and they can be just as successful.  Feminism is saying that we expect all genders to show respect for one another and hold them to the same standards.  We can reward women for pursuing their professional goals and not have the expectation that she will marry and have children (because she can do that if she chooses, but it's not necessary for her to have a fulfilling life).

Everyone benefits when we take a feminist attitude.  Yes, it's likely that if everyone agreed with feminism, women would earn the same amount of money as a man for performing the same job.  But it also means that we can show men and boys that they can be sensitive and show emotion.  We can show them that it's not weak to show pieces of themselves that makes them so human... so alive... We can take each other seriously and see each other in a more complicated light.

Being feminist is not a bad or toxic thing as long as we are celebrating everyone and helping to raise everyone up.

There are so many important messages and I swear, each time I read this book or listen to this talk, I take out something new based on where I am in thinking about feminism in my life.

This is a book/talk for everyone.  I think because there are such concrete examples, anti-feminist treatment that this can be easily understood by someone who is new to this information and point of view.  When you get towards the end of the video, I think it's a good way to start thinking about intersectional feminism, because feminism is more than just gender politics.  It's turned into a little bit of everything, supporting everyone despite race, gender, ability, creed, etc.  It's a great conversation starter and I hope that it continues this very important conversation.  
I give 'We Should All Be Feminist':
Thanks for Reading!

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