We Should All Be Feminists

We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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.
— We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I originally saw clips of Chimamanda's TED talk in various business classes while at university. I never really did much with it beyond being impressed by her eloquence and by her message. 

However, I recently saw this book at Barnes & Noble, was intrigued, and walked out with a copy. (I can never resist the allure of just picking up things at the book store). 

Although this was a quick read, I found it to be very inspiring. I've always had various ideas of what 'feminism' means and while I understand that being a feminist just means 'wanting equal rights for everyone,' sometimes it's hard to dissociate that from the negative perceptions of feminism. 

“At some point I was 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.”

I really liked that Chimamanda chose to address that, but then very carefully and very concisely illustrated why we should all be feminists anyway. 

It's hard to write a review of this, especially given it's so short, but essentially let's just say that this was very well written, it clearly outlines some of the main ideas of (what I see as) feminism and was a very helpful read for me. 

What I Liked About It:

  • The positive tone. Chimamanda accepts the reality of the present and creates an image of what the future can be. 
  • The clarity. Everything is very clearly written and there is no confusion whatsoever - if you don't understand what she's trying to say, I'm not sure what to do with you. Maybe just go watch her TED talk. 
  • Conciseness. This review feels longer than the book. But it was to the point and effective. 

What I Didn't Like: 

  • Limited Improvements. It's a very short book - more like a manifesto - so this also means that Chimamanda doesn't really create an effective solution to the problem beyond vague generalized suggestions. That being said, the reason why feminism exists is to solve an incredible complex social issue and it'd be hard to even begin to write about a solution without the book becoming much, much longer. I think the benefits of brevity outweigh having a more defined solution - it makes the book more accessible. 

Favourite Quotes: 

  • “Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.” 
  • “My own definition is a feminist is 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. All of us, women and men, must do better.” 
  • “A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start: We must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently.” 
  • “What if, in raising children, we focus on ability instead of gender? What if we focus on interest instead of gender?” 

If you want to listen to her TED Talk: Click Here