Review | We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

weshouldallbefeministsTitle: We Should All Be Feminists (2014)
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Read: 24th-26th February 2017
Genre: non-fiction; feminism
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

We Should All Be Feminists is a short, adapted essay of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TEDx talk on the subject of twenty-first century feminism, gender, sexuality, and her own experiences as a Nigerian woman, that forces readers to confront issues of everyday sexism and prejudice that are so deeply ingrained in modern society that they aren’t even immediately apparent as worthy of examination. At several points in this short book, I found myself stopping to reconsider the ways I thought about myself or about other women and checking that initial, socially-ingrained knee-jerk response – all of this, despite the fact that my own life is very different to Adichie’s. That is the mark of a very good TED talk and, indeed, book.

“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.”

Coming in at just under 70 pages, Adichie’s text is short and succinct but nonetheless packs a punch for it. She eloquently and anecdotally charts her own experiences as a young woman alongside those of her friends and family, using these examples to illustrate that the problem (if we may call it that) of sexism and discrimination is rarely ever solely down to the natural inclination of the person in question but rather how the person was raised, how they were conditioned to think, and what values they were taught by their parents and, indeed, society itself. Culture is people and people are culture though, so it is only by striving to be better people that we can affect change.

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