“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.” – (Page 201, We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Adichie)
Happy new month, guys! If possible, stay indoors locked away from senseless pranks today. It’s Fools’ Day incase you’re wondering.
I first heard Adichie’s TED talk on feminism in my final year at uni when one of my lecturers asked that we listen to her Danger of A Single Story TED talk. I found this one in the process and it opened my eyes to what feminism was truly about. The topic is generally a problematic one as most people don’t bother to research and regurgitate things they heard feminism is about from other people. In ‘We Should All Be Feminists’, Adichie expands her TED talk (with the same name). It’s a very short but important book I think everyone should read and re-read.
You hate men, you hate bras, you hate African culture, you think women should always be in charge, you don’t wear makeup, you don’t shave, you’re always angry, you don’t have a sense of humor, you don’t use deodorant.
Of course, like some of the people Adichie describes in this short, I thought feminism was essentially bra-burning and man-hating. But as Adichie describes, a feminist is simply someone who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.
Like the novelist that she is, Adichie uses personal, life/childhood experiences to paint pictures her readers can understand and relate to. One I found particularly interesting and relatable was the Class Monitor story on page 67. Her class teacher had said that anyone with the highest scores on a test would become Class Monitor. With that position came the power to submit the names of noisemakers to the teacher and carry around a cane while patrolling for said noisemakers in class- and we all know the Class Monitor hardly ever got punished. Adichie had the highest scores but wasn’t made Monitor because of an unspoken rule the Monitor had to be a boy. So the second best, a boy who had no interest in the position, was made Monitor. Adichie was devastated – and rightly so.
We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them. We stifle the humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage. We teach boys to be afraid of fear, of weakness, of vulnerability. We teach them to mask their true selves, because they have to be, in Nigerian-speak – a hard man. – (Page 149)
The author also speaks about how men are raised to become people who have to prove/assert their masculinity to cater to fragile egos. In social settings, we naturally expect that the man will always pay for the meal without considering he may not be able to pay for another person’s meal and cab ride home. In our world, a man is most desirable when he has expensive gadgets, a great body, a nice ride and other material things not necessary when he’s witty or can have an intelligent conversation about wide range of topics.
I especially love how Adichie wrote this short in a simple, non-threatening and affecting way explaining why feminism/gender equality is a worthy cause.
Was the author successful in carrying out the overall purposes of the book? Definitely
Would you recommend this book to others? Most definitely
My recommendations for this month are:
- Under the Udala Tree – Chinelo Okparanta (because, LMBC is reading this in April)
- Black Ass – Igoni Barett (because, the reviews are great)
- The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho (isn’t it obvious?)
Dont forget you only have to read one book.
Before we get to your reviews I’m glad to announce that we have another partner onboard. The awesome people at Africareeds.com have decided to give all you book lovers 10% discount on any purchase made on their site. All you have to do is use this promo code when checking out: NAKEDCONVOS10. So you see, now you have absolutely no excuse.
Time to hear from you:
What book did you read?
Evaluate and critique the book
Wrap up with the strengths and weaknesses and mention if you would recommend the book to other people
Give a numerical score/rating.