Dear Ijeawele, or, a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
If you’ve never read We Should All Be Feminists, stop reading this review, pick up that book, and come back when you’re ready. This is your master class in feminism, and the first book will build the steps that will help you really enact livable feminism in your life.
Back? Awesome! Now you’re ready to carry on the work and take it another step further. Adichie, who’s become a voice of contemporary feminism, was asked to write suggestions on how to raise a feminist daughter. Since she herself recently gave birth to a daughter, she wrote this into a small book, which is the current volume. These suggestions are practical and implementable for women and men in all sorts of family situations. She talks about raising a daughter with an individual, rather than marriage-oriented, identity, education, casual talk about herself, career ambitions, equal parenting load in a heterosexual family, and even simple things that can cause women to lessen themselves in their own eyes. It’s a fast but important read.
What I like so much about Adichie’s feminism is that it’s not Western in focus. Too often, here in the States, we develop a shorthand for feminism that is very exclusive to the US, or at least the West, and there’s a whole world out there. I often think about feminism in very US-centric terms, but I forget how much a woman’s body, or at the very least, a body that codes female, is at danger of rape or harassment or murder. Adichie is such a necessary voice to the cause, not just as a woman of color or a nonwestern woman, but a woman who is educated and articulate and advocates a practice that is practical, inclusive, and redemptive to both women and men.