I love Chimamanda’s books, she is one of my favorite African authors, and I liked reading this feminist Manifesto. Dear Ijeawele is an easy breakdown on feminism that demystifies some misconceptions of feminism in a set of fifteen priceless suggestions. The book was birthed out of Chimamanda’s letter to her friend on how to raise her daughter feminist. She offers a practical, captivating, and fresh perspective on how parents (mothers and fathers) can nurture and empower their daughters to grow into strong and independent women. Offering advice like teaching girls to reject likeability, be brave, kind, and stand for themselves; teaching daughters to never universalize their own standards or experiences; and encouraging girls to read extensively.
You might have had a negative connection to feminism mainly because of your upbringing or the environments you find yourself in. This book will change your perception of that. Although I wish I had read this book (letter) in my teenage years, part of me wonders if it would have influenced what I am now, the decisions I have made or the career path I chose.
Here are some of the quotes that stood out for me in this book;
- What is your premise? Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not “if only.” Not “as long as.” I matter equally. Full stop.
- “Being a feminist is like being pregnant. You either are or you are not. You either believe in the full equality of men and women, or you do not.”
- Everybody will have an opinion about what you should do, but what matters is what you want for yourself, not what others want you to want.
- Teach her that the idea of “gender roles” is absolute nonsense. Do not ever tell her that she should or should not do something because she is a girl. “Because you are a girl” is never a reason for anything.
- Feminist and feminism are mutually exclusive
- “We have a world full of women who are unable to exhale fully because they have for so long been conditioned to fold themselves into shapes to make themselves likeable.” – This is so true, especially for women in male-dominated worlds. I hope we get to stop focusing on what others think of us and live up to our full potential.
I have no doubt you will gain personal insights from these simple suggestions. Happy reading!