“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 that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
On this gloomy Saturday morning in San Francisco, California, I decided to ignore my chores and take the time instead to read this 64-page masterpiece. Needless to say, this book did not let me down. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, as usual, was witty and straight to the point- we should all be feminists.
Growing up as a Nigerian woman in both Nigeria and the United States, I connect with Adichie who is also a Nigerian woman. I’ve recognized that Nigerian culture is deeply patriarchal. One that I relent not because I despise men, but rather because I want to be equal to them. Chimamanda clearly states what feminism is – the, “social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” Yet, some people are incapable or unwilling to grasp such a simple premise. Why?
After I finished the book, I texted someone dear to me about all my take away points from the book. He didn’t respond right away like he normally does. In fact, he didn’t respond an hour, or even two later. It was four hours before he finally replied. He stated that he was well aware of the struggles that women experience because he grew up in a house full of women. Then he went on to talk about how he cares a lot about labor rights. Correct me if i’m wrong, but I texted him about women’s rights and not the latter. Right? So why is it that when the topic of gender equality is brought up, it quickly turns into a conversation of other rights? This is a key point that Adichie makes. For example, yes women’s rights are an aspect of human rights, but we aren’t talking about human rights as a whole, we are talking about women’s rights and to broaden the conversation to humans as a whole is an injustice.
I challenge you if you haven’t already to read this book. Step out of your comfort zone, and for the duration of the book, and hopefully longer, put on a feminist lens.