Guys. Run and get this letter and give it to your sons and daughters. I am going to be copies to send to my nieces right now. This was just fantastic.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie took us to church and had us on the floor with the Holy Spirit and had us up and stamping our feet.
Asked by her close friend about how to raise her daughter to be a feminist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie provides her friend with 15 suggestions.
First Suggestion: Be a full person.
Second Suggestion: Do it together.
Third Suggestion: Teach her that the idea of "gender roles" is absolute nonsense.
Fourth Suggestion: Beware the danger of what I call Feminism Lite.
Fifth Suggestion: Teach Chizalum to read.
Sixth Suggestion: Teach her to question language.
Seventh Suggestion: Never speak of marriage as an achievement.
Eighth Suggestion: Teach her to reject likability.
Ninth Suggestion: Give Chizalum a sense of identity.
Tenth Suggestion: Be deliberate about how you engage with her and her appearance.
Eleventh Suggestion: Teach her to question our culture's selective use of biology as "reasons" for social norms.
Twelfth Suggestion: Talk to her about sex, and start early.
Thirteenth Suggestion: Romance will happen, so be on board.
Fourteenth Suggestion: In teaching her about oppression, be careful not to turn the oppressed into saints.
Fifteenth Suggestion: Teach her about difference.
In each section that goes into these suggestions, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gives examples of what she is speaking about. She also throws shade at mutual friends/people that she and her friend know that made me laugh.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
Many people believe that a woman’s feminist response to a husband’s infidelity should be to leave. But I think staying can also be a feminist choice, depending on the context. If Chudi sleeps with another woman and you forgive him, would the same be true if you slept with another man? If the answer is yes, then your choosing to forgive him can be a feminist choice because it is not shaped by a gender inequality. Sadly, the reality in most marriages is that the answer to that question would often be no, and the reason would be gender-based—that absurd idea of “men will be men,
That said, I would take all of my husband's stuff, burn it, and proceed to change the locks on the door.
Motherhood is a glorious gift, but do not define yourself solely by motherhood. Be a full person. Your child will benefit from that. The pioneering American journalist Marlene Sanders, who was the first woman to report from Vietnam during the war (and who was the mother of a son), once gave this piece of advice to a younger journalist: “Never apologize for working. You love what you do, and loving what you do is a great gift to give your child.”
My family still treats me like I am a strange creature because I chose to not marry and I choose to not have children. I am happy. Yes, I am single, and yes sometimes I get lonely. But I am lonely for people really, not so much companionship because I love coming home to my house and just being. I tried too hard for years to be the perfect girlfriend, it's nice to just be me and not have anything wrong with that.
Our culture celebrates the idea of women who are able to “do it all” but does not question the premise of that praise. I have no interest in the debate about women “doing it all” because it is a debate that assumes that caregiving and domestic work are singularly female domains, an idea that I strongly reject.
It drives me up the wall when women and even men go around saying well so and so women shows she can do it all. Fuck that noise. I can't do it all, and I am not married with children. I ask for help. I hire people to do shit for my home, my car. There's nothing wrong with not being able to do it all.
Teach her that the idea of “gender roles” is absolute nonsense. Do not ever tell her that she should or should not do something because she is a girl. “Because you are a girl” is never a reason for anything. Ever.
The knowledge of cooking does not come pre-installed in a vagina.
I want this on a pillow somewhere so I can put it in my bedroom.
We also need to question the idea of marriage as a prize to women, because that is the basis of these absurd debates. If we stopped conditioning women to see marriage as a prize, then we would have fewer debates about a wife needing to cook in order to earn that prize.
Beware the danger of what I call Feminism Lite. It is the idea of conditional female equality. Please reject this entirely. It is a hollow, appeasing, and bankrupt idea. 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.
Tell Chizalum that women actually don’t need to be championed and revered; they just need to be treated as equal human beings. There is a patronizing undertone to the idea of women needing to be “championed” and “revered” because they are women. It makes me think of chivalry, and the premise of chivalry is female weakness.
I honestly never even thought about it this way before.
There are so many other good quotes that I can be here all day about.
Loved this letter and need to read more by this author.