Monday, August 3, 2015

Book Review: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Pages: 65
Format: E-book
Published: October, 2014
Price: $1.99 -> Rp26.780 (Amazon)
Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Date started: August 3, 2015 - Date finished: August 3, 2015

A personal and powerful essay from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the bestselling author of ‘Americanah’ and ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, based on her 2013 TEDx Talk of the same name.

An eBook short.

What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay – adapted from her much-viewed Tedx talk of the same name – by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of ‘Americanah’ and ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’. With humour and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century – one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviours that marginalise women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences – in the U.S., in her native Nigeria – offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike. Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a best-selling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today – and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.
We Should All Be Feminists is an essay of what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talked about during her 2013 TEDx talk, which apparently is quite famous (I'm pretty sure I'm going to search for it after this). Here she wrote about a subject that is quite hard to explain, which is feminism. Since she was little she was told by her friend that she's a feminist, at that time she didn't know what being a feminist means. She thought that it was a bad thing because in how her friend said that she's a feminist is equivalent to saying someone is a terrorist.

In this essay, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tell it like it is. The hard truth that still occurs in our society until today in a blunt but not offensive to men or women. Quite an insightful read.
Some people ask: "Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?" Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general - but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women. That the problem was not about being human, but specifically about being a female human.
I love how she wrote this not just based on theories and assumptions. She included vivid examples in real life from her friends. As we can see the problem where men are considered more than women started long ago and we think that now we don't have that problem anymore. But in fact, we still face this kind of problem where men is held in higher regard than women. We just didn't see it for ourselves or were not paying enough attention to notice.

Throughout reading this I can't help but wonder am I one of those people that ignore the fact that equality in gender is still not upheld. It is also quite refreshing to learn about Nigerian culture, which until this day still uphold men more than women. For instance, when entering a restaurant the waiter will greet only the man but not the woman. Also, some other opinions that some or a few people still believe. One of those is about how women shouldn't make more than men, they shouldn't be more successful than men, and how they shouldn't be the breadwinner in their families because it'll emasculate the men. I personally think that this is quite an old thinking that should be left in the past.

One thing that can be said for certain is that people should change the way they raise their children. Start early on, educate children to aspire to be the best they possibly can and break those gender barriers that may limit them from achieving greatness. 

Unrelated to the content of the book, Indomie is mentioned in this book! Ah, I giggled when reading about it. Good job, Indomie! For being known worldwide!

This essay was clear and concise. Delivered in a manner in which all people would understand I definitely more people should read about this or watch the TEDx talk both men and women. In the end we should all aspire to be feminists, as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said:
My own definition of 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.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TEDxEuston Talk "We Should All Be Feminists"

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