Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a feminist and black-issues writer and was born in Nigeria. She still often returns there and therefore divides her time between America and Nigeria. She was called, according to her own account, a feminist by a close friend, already by the age of 14. Two of her best known novels are “Purple Hibiscus” and “Half a Yellow Sun”. Her TED talk, where all the quotations in this post are from, is widely known and presents some often misunderstood concepts about feminism, as well as her ideas and approaches to the topic, which very much go hand in hand with my own.
At some point I was a happy African feminist who does not hate men and who likes lip gloss and who wears high heels for herself but not for men
This is from the beginning section of her speech. And it really got me how TRUE it is that women who are feminists have to defend themselves in so many ways. “How can you be a feminist if you wear short skirts”. “How can you be a feminist if you wear Make-Up”. “How can you be a feminist if you like sex”. This collection of things I alone have heard so far could be continued endlessly.
I came to know about Chimamanda first through a song – I listened to Beyonces song “Flawless”, suggested by spotify, and fragments of Chimamandas speech on feminism were mentioned. I proceeded then to listen to the whole speech and was very very impressed by what she had to say. Of course, the situation in Nigeria is different than here in Austria – yet, even us Austrian women can find ourselves in her speech again.
You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful, otherwise you would threaten the man.
Or, when I think of the stories my mum told me, when she goes out to buy, let’s say, a new car, even though it is her car and her money to buy it with, the seller most likely will talk to my dad about the technicalities and feels visibly uncomfortable to answer my mother.
I love Chiamambas approach on Feminism, as she, as well as I, does take a hard stand against the man-bashing that is often mistakenly regarded as feminism.
I am a feminist. And when I looked up that word in the dictionary that day, this is what it said: feminist : a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. […] My own definition of feminist is: feminist : a man or a woman who says, “Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today, and we must fix it, we must do better.”
In a later article she commented on Beyonces song, and it opened an even new aspect of her stand to feminism.
My own definition of feminist is:
I think men are lovely but I don’t think we should relate everything we do to man. […] We women are so conditioned to relate everything to men. Put a group of women together and the conversation will be eventually about men
Now, of course conversations about men are fun. And when I talk with my best friend(s), of course its often about men, OUR men. Relationships are a big part of our life and why shouldn’t we talk about it. Yet, I do agree with her. We have our own stuff too, we should more talk about that and regard it as, if not as more, important as men. (The same goes vice versa, and I don’t know what group of men talk about, but women shouldn’t be their only topic neither).
To conclude: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is an extremely inspiring personality. She talks about how we raise our daugthers AND our sons in a wrong way and I love her open approach to the topic and her encouragement to both women and men.
We should all be feminists. If you are a lot already, a little yet, or want to graps what feminism really is: listen to her TED talk. It will give you a new perspective. We should all be feminists.
I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.