Saturday, December 9, 2017

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Do you have a feminist friend with a young daughter? I have the perfect Christmas gift idea for you - THIS BOOK.

The first book I read by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS, an excellent little feminist manifesto based on one of her TED talks (which I have seen - it was excellent, and you should definitely watch it, too). WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS is a broad perspective on why feminism is important, and how its tenets benefit society.

DEAR IJEAWELE, as the name suggests, is much more personal. It's Adichie's letter to a friend who has just given birth to a baby girl, and who wants to know how to raise her baby as a feminist in Nigeria, a somewhat patriarchal and conservative society. In DEAR IJEAWELE, Adichie gives her friend fifteen suggestions to raise her daughter in an empowering way.

While I did not enjoy DEAR IJEWAWELE as much as I did WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS, it's still a beautiful and important book. I thought Adichie gave her friend very good advice.

Here are two of my favorites:

Teach her that if you criticize X in women but do not criticize X in men, then you do not have a problem with X, you have a problem with women (17).

Feminism and femininity are not mutually exclusive. It is misogynistic to suggest that they are (23).

You could just as easily take a highlighter and quote the whole dang thing, though. It's that good, and that relevant. I look forward to seeing what other essays Adichie publishes in the near future. She has a fantastic writing style and always brings up such salient points - and I adore her for it.

4 out of 5 stars

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