A Feminist Manifesto

By Sola Ogunbiyi

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is without a doubt, a vocal African feminist act. She literally wears her identity as a woman/African as a badge. She is simultaneously an inspiration and a nuisance to many, it’s not a wonder you find her name in the search for African activists.

She is not ashamed to speak about the many hazards society has created through stereotyped half-truths transferred from one generation to the other regarding the female individual.

What intrigued me about her book; Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, is the title. See the ‘suggestions’ there? That means she wasn’t saying ‘the things detailed in this book are mandates’; you either take it or leave it.  So, don’t go offing your head by saying ‘women shouldn’t do this or that’ or ‘women should be this or that’.

Honestly, listing the suggestions she dishes to her friend (it’s a letter to her friend Ijeawele who had asked how she could raise a feminist daughter) would be a spoiler for those who haven’t read the book. However, I will share a couple that resonated and triggered me to have thought-provoking conversations with myself and others.

  • I matter equally. Full stop: I often questioned the term equality; I used to prefer the term equity, because I believed ‘equality’ wasn’t realistic. But note the word ‘matter’; this means I am of interest or significant just like my male counterpart.

‘Equality does not have to mean a literal fifty-fifty score-keeping’

– Chimamanda Adichie

 

  • Teach her to read, teach her to love books…I do not mean school books, but autobiographies, novels, histories: I must admit, it is a tad disheartening to know there has been a global drop in our reading culture. Every day, new mediums are created to reduce the amount of time spent reading; stats show that people would rather read an article with a title of lists than an in-depth detailed assessment of the topic. In fact, I read a stat which stated, that the average time an individual would read an online article is three minutes. Reading is a skill that must be developed early, its importance cannot be understated. 

‘If she were not to go to school, and merely just read books, she would arguably become more knowledgeable than a conventionally educated child’

– Chimamanda Adichie 

  • Have conversations about sex early: As a mental health advocate, I’ll include ‘mental awareness education too’. The widespread of sex education via the internet and social media is mind boggling and anyone has access to these platforms. Which is why it’s important to have healthy conversations about sex at an early stage.

 ‘…never, ever link sexuality and shame. Or nakedness and shame. Do not make her ‘virginity’ a focus. Every conversation about virginity becomes a conversation about shame’

– Chimamanda Adichie

 

Chiamamanda is truly my inspiration!

 

 

 

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