Title: Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Date Read: April 19, 2017
Summary: In short, Adichie was asked how to raise a daughter to be a feminist. This is her answer.
I can’t really add anything to this wonderful book, so I’m just going to list my favorite quotes (bold) and points:
- Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not “if only.” Not “as long as.” I matter equally. Full stop (6).
- …that absurd idea of “men will be men” which means having a lower standard for men (7).
- Be a full person (7).
- Everybody will have an opinion about what you should do, but what matters is what you want for yourself, and not what others want you to want (9).
- “Because you are a girl” is never a reason for anything. Ever (14).
- The knowledge of cooking does not come pre-installed in a vagina (15).
- Being a feminist is like being pregnant. You either are or you are not. You either believe in the full equality of men and women or you do not (20).
- A husband is not a headmaster. A wife is not a schoolgirl (22).
- Question language (26).
- Reject likeability (36).
- Teach her that her kindness must never be taken for granted (38).
- Feminism and femininity are not mutually exclusive (43).
- Social norms are created by human beings, and there is no social norm that cannot be changed (51).
- Tell her that her body belongs to her and her alone, that she should never feel the need to say yes to something she does not want, or something she feels pressured to do. Teach her that saying no when no feels right is something to be proud of (52).
- Even cultures that expect women to be sexy–like many in the West–still do not expect them to be sexual (53).
- Teach her never to universalize her own standards or experiences. Teach her that her standards are for her alone, and not for other people. This is the only necessary form of humanity: the realization that difference is normal (62).