Lately there has been a pattern to my reading choices and I have a new amazing add that I can’t rave enough about!
We Should All Be Feminists by the infamous Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
We Should All Be Feminists explores Chimamanda’s feminine experiences and reactions to the expectations of women, both as a child and in her adult life in Nigeria. She points to the ways that young girls are essentially groomed by society and family to be treated as second-class citizens to their male counterparts, in relationships, careers, and as social beings. And how a strong-willed woman (especially one of color) is seen as intimidating and “too ambitious”. Her stories of women who will go to staggering lengths to achieve this “respect” are jaw-dropping!
Additionally, she touches on how young men are not only taught to expect this submissive behavior in women and to use it to uplift and sustain a fragile ego, but that it also doesn’t allow any room for natural, human emotions such as fear and what society perceives as “weakness”. Boys and men must convey an emotional wall to be considered hard and tough, which continues to devalue their perspectives of women as their equals. Unfortunately, as we are very much aware, these concepts are prevalent throughout many cultures and societies.
This does not come as any surprise to me, and most of us, but she makes many valid points that I never considered. It isn’t enough to change how we perceive ourselves, but we have a responsibility to the young women and men in our lives. We have to help them value and accept their unique identities and nurture them at an early age, especially growing up in a culture that strongly implies that women are only valued and worthy of respect if they are physically beautiful, educated but not threatening, married, and domestic — simultaneously.
Oh, and did I mention that it perpetuates competition between women? I’ve seen its prevalence in the black community, with women constantly threatened by each other based on superficial qualities. Looking outward for potential “threats” to their relationship status instead of focusing solely on their own confident gifts, brains, beauty, self-care and acceptance. I am also admittedly guilty!
I highly recommend that you pick up this read not only for yourself, but your children and potential children. Self-reflect and assess your past thoughts and behavior. Have you been unconsciously catering to the patriarchal aspects of society and relations? I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of this from time to time, with the distractions of movies, television, social media, and even the opinions of those close to us. I know that Chimamanda’s insights have allowed me to make a more confident and determined step forward to continue to embrace my feminine energies and never wilt or accept the incessant attack on women and our capabilities, regardless of what form they come in.
And when you know better for yourself, you do better for yourself and the next generation.
Get her book here!
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