Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has long been outspoken about why we need more feminists in the world. No wonder her latest book is a practical guide in how to raise a generation of feminists — something she believes is “more urgent now than it has ever been.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (born 15 September 1977) is a Nigerian writer of novels, short stories, and nonfiction. The Times Literary Supplement described her as “the most prominent” of a “procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors [that] is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature”.

Adichie is someone who doesn’t like to be tied down in any one role.  As the Nigerian writer with several novels published, she broke out of the literary world to embrace the world stage for her ideas on feminism, race, and politics. However,  Adichie didn’t stop there. She became an instant pop icon when Beyoncé used her Ted Talk on feminism in the song “Flawless“. She’s also on best-dressed lists and is the face of the cosmetics brand Number 7.

Dear Ijeawele

According to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the only thing more essential than being a feminist in this world is raising one. Her latest work, Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, addresses the question of how to raise the next generation of feminists in the form of a letter to her childhood friend Ijeawele, who had asked for advice on raising her baby girl.

In Dear Ijeawele, the acclaimed Nigerian novelist offers 15 compelling suggestions for how to raise a feminist daughter. The book presents a very basic set of appeals: to be careful with language (never say “because you are a girl”), encourage reading, don’t treat marriage as an achievement, reject likability. “Her job is not to make herself likable, her job is to be her full self,” she says.

The novelist’s work encourages the reader to look around and to see where gender binaries, like pink vs. blue, mother vs. earner, doll vs. truck, have gotten the society. Adichie believes people has failed at creating the world where men and women are equal. She argues that the genesis of this failure won’t be found in school sex ed courses nor in college campus. It starts from birth and even from before then.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Feminist Boys

Dear Ijeawele is about raising a feminist daughter. But addressing the Women of the World Festival in London this month, Adichie pointed out that sexism is as much harmful to boys as it is for girls. So, it’s just as important to raise boys feminist.

First of all, Adichie believes that parents need to change the construction of traditional ideas of masculinity. “We have to make boys vulnerable. We have to make vulnerability something to be proud of,” says the author. She is also concerned about the power of shame. “What if we start to teach boys to be ashamed of many of the things that define toxic masculinity? What if we teach boys to be ashamed of not being able to communicate, not being able to be in touch with their emotions?” she says. At the same time, however, she believes that girls should also receive this message. “It’s important for us to teach girls that it’s OK for boys to cry,” emphasizes Adichie.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Secondly, the novelist insists on having higher expectations for boys. “Patriarchy thrives on having lower standards for men and boys,” Adichie says. “I find it a dangerous idea to praise men for doing what they should”. She suggests showing boys that they are equal to girls. Parents must expect from boys to do things like domestic tasks without receiving extra praise or reward for doing so. Therefore, Adichie thinks that it’s important to give girls and boys similar chores around the house.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at #WOWLDN

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is in conversation with editor and literary critic Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, live at #WOWLDN – Southbank Centre's Women of the World Festival 2017

Posted by The Guardian on Saturday, March 11, 2017

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie believes that by raising children as feminists the generation that’s coming will “not be as burdened as we are”. She hopes that by dismantling the prescribed gender roles as early as possible, a new mindset will emerge –  the one that champions equality.

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