FEMINIST: A person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.
This word has been known to carry a lot of baggage. Award winning author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, trying to combat this negative stigma, uses humour and calls herself “A Happy African Feminist Who Does Not Hate Men And Who Likes To Wear Lip Gloss And High Heels For Herself And Not For Men.” These are just some of the false assumptions she gets when calling herself a feminist.
This Essay by Chimamanda, published in 2014, is adapted from her 2012 TedxEuston Talk of the same name. After presenting this controversial topic at the yearly conference focused on Africa, she received a (well-deserved) standing ovation.
This essay, features stories from her childhood and womanhood, including the first time she was called a feminist by one of her greatest friends at age 14. She also shares stories from her personal circle of Nigerian and American women and friends, who through their circumstances are finding out “What it means to be a woman.”
She believes a major problem is how we raise our sons and daughters to stifle certain characteristics. On this subject she writes:
“The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.”
I do not want to ruin this amazing read for you by spoiling all the best parts, but I will tell you my absolute favourite line:
“I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femininity.”
This strikes a chord with me because I have always been quite “girly” like Chimamanda. It is so inspiring that she can still be a strong, powerful, independent woman while still sporting stilettos and a great lipstick. We need to break the misconception that masculinity equals strength and power. After reading this, I will no longer think of myself as “less than” or feel any shame for being decked out in my pink coat and high heels. Instead, I will think of Chimamanda and sport them proudly. I can be taken seriously no matter what I wear, no matter which gender I identify with.
More about Chimamanda:
- 40 Years Young
- Masters Degree in Creative Writing and African Studies
- Spends half her time where she grew up in Nigeria, and the other half in the USA
- Author of Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), The Thing Around Your Neck (2009) and Americanah (2013)
- Parts of her “We Should All Be Feminists” Speech are featured in a verse of Flawless by Beyoncé (2013)
I definitely recommend you give this short essay a read! It can be read in one sitting and has certainly changed my perception of feminism and has given me ideas on how to fix the inequality in the future.
I am so thankful there are incredible women out there who are working so hard to change the way the world perceives the female sex. Thank you Chimamanda for Satisfying Her Soul.
If you have read or watched any similar talks, please feel free to comment them below as I would love to continue learning about this topic.