This is a very introductory book on feminism, but I wish everyone in the world would be required to read this. It’s so basic and easy to understand that everyone is, at their core, human, but Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie does such an amazing job at opening people’s eyes.
I have been ashamed to tell people I’m a feminist so many times, and each memory of my shame hurts. The word “feminist” has such a negative connotation, and I’ve been scared to tell even the people I care a lot about that this is a title I give myself.
This book made me think about me being younger, and unaware that I was a feminist, and having to prove myself to men.
“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller.”
One summer I was in a hot tub with a bunch of my “friends”; I was young, extremely thin, and cared so much about the way I looked. While we were talking, someone brought up my degree in molecular biology. This prompted a boy that knew nothing about me, other than the way I looked, to question me. He asked, “Well, what’s the difference between a plant cell and an animal cell then?” I then felt shame and embarrassment, and proceeded to answer his basic 101 question with great detail to prove my degree and, ultimately, my worth. I think about this memory a lot, and I cringe and get upset at myself every time. I wish that 22 year old girl knew how much more worth she had, and how she didn’t have to answer to anyone, ever.
I still care about my health and the way I look, but now I do it for myself, not random people who will value my beauty and equate it to my worth. That doesn’t mean I don’t get the terrible and hurtful comments that I’m trying to “impress someone” or that “I show too much skin” for their liking. Also, let me note that I live in Las Vegas, it is hot year-round. Also, and more importantly, I’m proud of my body. It took me many years to feel comfortable in my skin and, at 28, I know my worth and I know it has nothing to do with what size jeans I’m wearing or how great I contoured that day.
I can do better, we can all do better, but introductory books like this help immensely. I will keep and cherish this books for the rest of my life, while singing its praises to anyone who will listen, because we should all be feminists.
“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.”
If you’d like to listen to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie herself, this is her amazing and powerful essay on YouTube: Here!