We Should all be Feminists

Somehow, it took me a long time to read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should all be Feminists. I purchased this book a little over a year ago when I was in Seattle. It was one of my last days there, and was able to spend the morning wandering around the incredible Elliot Bay Book Company.

While it took me some time to read it, I have heard plenty about it – it has been consistently mentioned on some of the podcasts I listen to, in the news, and (most importantly?) in Beyonce’s song, Flawless.

This book is short (it’s an essay with a cover, really). I was able to read it twice in one day – once during my lunch, and once while I was getting my hair done. Adichie is a lovely writer who was able to embed personal stories into her narrative. She sets up a beautiful argument about why feminism is a concern of everyone, not just of women, and how to address it, all in 48 pages.

My favorite excerpt from the text is also featured in Beyonce’s song. Adichie writes, “We say to girls, ‘You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man.'” I think about the young women in my life and am heartbroken at the thought of them holding themselves back, and it is devastating to me. The most concerning part is that they are growing up in a world that is teaching them to hold back. I can only hope that this essay and others like it will help change expectations and allow the lovely girls in my life the opportunity to reach for everything they want.