Literature is amazing.
You know what else is amazing? Pure, unapologetic feminism. The desire for equality between all genders the basis of feminist theory, which as an intersectional idea takes into account the triumphs, successes and questions of all against the influence of the binary gender roles and patriarchal expectations in society.
Literature, pieces of which that have been created by rebellious thinkers throughout time, has documented feminism in almost every crucial stage of its history. In honour of these wonderful, shocking, and inspiring authors and the texts they have created, we have organised a feature to introduce you to feminist theory or to empower you further in your quest to destroy the patriarchy.
We Should All Be Feminists // Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes”. Heard this before? Perhaps from an insanely empowering Beyoncé song? You’ll find, in fact, that it is a sample from We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This essay, adapted from Adichie’s TEDx talk in 2012, explains why feminism is equality, a topic which seems obvious for some but completely incomprehensible for others. This is what makes this book so important.
Adichie uses personal anecdotes from growing up in Nigeria and being treated differently because she is a woman, as well as stories from other people, whose experiences paint a clear picture of why intersectional feminism is needed for everyone. She explains her points so simply, so eloquently and so serenely that the essay is transformed into a revolutionary piece of feminist writing.
Putting forth the fact that we raise our boys and girls differently, no questions asked, is a bold statement, yet an extremely crucial one. She highlights issues one may not have realised exist, such as a waiter in Nigeria greeting and addressing the man but not the woman, which Adichie said made her feel alienated and invisible. Another being the obsession with marriage; Adichie asks why must women feel as though they should care so much about marriage, yet men dismiss it and are socially allowed to be single? Why should women feel as though they are doing wrong if they are unmarried by a certain age? A quote which truly stuck with me is, “We make women feel as though by being born female, they are already guilty of something.” It is simple sentences in this essay like that which highlight the vital need for feminism in our society today.
Not only does she discuss women’s issues but she states that we must put less pressure on men too. The obsession for masculinity, a thing which in itself is forced thus creating fragility, demands men to fear weakness, which is of course is a feminist issue. If we are to view women differently in society, we must view men differently too, in order for equality to be created. “We must do better,” she clearly and proudly exclaims.
If you have heard the phrase “I’m not a feminist, I believe in EQUALITY!” far too many times to handle, lend them a copy of We Should All Be Feminists. Before reading it, I was a feminist. After reading it, I was a feminist prepared to truly make a difference to all genders in society. This essay will leave you feeling stronger, bold and, of course, ***Flawless.
Words by Anna Cowan