A few weeks back my Instagram feed became cluttered with photos from my friends at Random House of Canada of a little book with capitalized bold blue letters entitled WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS.
Naturally, I Googled the book and found out that is an essays derived from a TEDx talk that its author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie previously gave. After putting in a request for a copy from the lovely people at Random House of Canada, it arrived at my door. I read the tiny, yet powerful essay in a half-hour with a bold cup of dark roast coffee.
“…that word feminist is so heavy with baggage, negative baggage: you hate men, you hate bras, you hate African culture, you think women should always be in charge, you don’t wear make-up, you don’t shave, you’re always angry, you don’t have a sense of humour, you don’t use deotorant.” (11)
As Chimamanda discusses the varying circumstances and degrees in which she and her female friends have been discriminated against because of their gender, I couldn’t help feeling thankful. Let me explain: the premise of this essay is to not only make people aware of the injustices that are still very much alive today, but to open the eyes of the public and perhaps get them to raise their children differently. I was raised to think for myself, to thrive, to be whomever I wanted to be. I was never told (directly or indirectly) that my goal as a woman is to marry and have children. My parents always told me to work hard, to succeed, and to start my own career. Most (if not all) the women in my life (especially from my generation) were taught the same thing. I’ve never felt unequal or belittled by any man who I’ve working with or for and I am thankful for that.
Chiamanda defines a feminist as a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes (47) and I agree with her. I am a feminist by those standards and even though I have been spared a lot of the sexism that women in other countries or cultures go through, this little essay has opened my eyes to the kind of feminist I want to be, the kind of woman I hope my niece can look up to. As Chiamanda states: there is still 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 (48).
We Should All Be Feminists is a tiny book filled with the grandest ideas that could change the way you look at the world.