I called this a mini-review because talking about this book in its totality would be to give all of its content away and I don’t want to do that.
If you do not own this little yet insightful book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, then I suggest you get a copy as soon as possible. Get more than one if you have to and share with friends and loved ones.
We Should All Be Feminists was first published in 2014 by Fourth Estate, it aims to give a definition of feminism for the 21st Century.
The essay was adapted from Adichie’s 2012 TEDx talk of the same name, first delivered at TEDx Euston in London, which has been viewed more than five million times.
We Should All Be Feminists dishes out ideas and critically analyses what it means to be a feminist. She argues that “feminist” isn’t an insult, but rather a label that should be embraced by all.
The book received overwhelmingly positive reviews. Rupert Hawksley said: “it just might be the most important book you read all year” in The Telegraph. The Independent selected it as a book of the year, for it “would be the book I’d press into the hands of girls and boys, as an inspiration for a future ‘world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves'”.
In December 2015, the Swedish Women’s Lobby and publisher Albert Bonniers revealed the book is to be distributed to every 16-year-old high school student in Sweden, with the intention that it will “work as a stepping stone for a discussion about gender equality and feminism”. The effort is supported by the UN Association of Sweden, the Swedish Trade Union Conferation, the Order of the Teaspoon, Unizon and Gertrud Åström. They “hope that teachers will integrate We Should All Be Feminists into their teaching, and will be distributing discussion guidelines to help”.
In September 2016, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri, the first female creative director in the 70-year history of the fashion house Dior, at her premiere show for the brand featured a T-shirt bearing the statement: “We Should All Be Feminists”.
The Afro Reader at the event – AN EVENING WITH CHIMAMANDA.
I have never understood why people cringe at the mention of the word “Feminist”. Reading this book gave me a better insight as to why the word and its ideals may be difficult for some people to embrace.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes in page 40/41:
Gender is not an easy conversation to have. It makes people uncomfortable, sometimes even irritable. Both men and women are resistant to talk about gender, or are quick to dismiss the problems of gender. Because thinking of changing the status quo is always uncomfortable.
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. That the problem was not about being human, but specifically about being a female human. For centuries, the world divided human beings into two groups and then proceeded to excluded and oppress one group. It is only fair that the solution to the problem should acknowledge that.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ends the book by writing:
My own definition of a feminist is a man or a woman who says, ‘Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better’. All of us, women and men, must do better.
If you enjoyed We Should All Be Feminists then you should read Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions; an epistolary form manifesto also written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.