Book review: We Should All Be Feminists

We Should All Be Feminists

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Have you noticed lately that there has been a groundswell of support for feminist thinking and ideas? Nothing revolutionary but nevertheless a perceptible shift in attitude and women more likely to describe themselves as feminists. It seems even pop starlet Taylor Swift has changed her tune on the matter.

I think somewhere in the 1980s the feminist movement was hijacked and over intellectualised to the point where many women felt uncomfortable identifying themselves as feminists.  Though reference to its definition should have allayed any misgivings about such an identification – Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and economic quality of women. 

This is such a little book, more of an essay really, but it has an incredibly powerful message. In essence, the author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, asks us to acknowledge that there is a gender imbalance in the vast majority of societies today and that we must all – take action to change this.

The book’s context is derived mainly from the author’s experiences in Africa and the examples she uses to illustrate her points might at first glance seem a little dated and culturally irrelevant. However, when I reflect on experiences I’ve had over the years, particularly in the work place, they are depressingly familiar.

Adichie explores how uncomfortable discussions about gender make people and the underlying reasons why. She discusses the way we raise children and the injustice to both genders of how we do this. It is acknowledged we have made progress towards gender equality but that there is still so much more to do to.

Perhaps the book’s message resonated so much because the author’s point of view is outlined simply and reflects my own. This is one of my favourite passage..

I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femininity. And I want to be respected in all my femaleness. Because I deserve to be. I like politics and history and am happiest when having a good argument about ideas. I am girly. I am happily girly. I like high heels and trying on lipsticks. It’s nice to be complimented by both men and women (although I have to be honest and say that I prefer the compliments of stylish women).. 

I have now read this book three times and I’m still finding nuances and inspiration in the elegant prose. It is well worth a read.

By the way the author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie also wrote this fabulous novel – Americanah.

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