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Feminism: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities
I can't recall the first time I heard the word feminism. However, I remember sensing it was laced with negativity. As I got older, I realized that, to some, being a feminist had somehow become synonymous with hating men.
In what dictionary!? lol
In this short essay turned book, Chimamanda challenges her readers to abandon their gender biases and consider viewing one another through a different lens. She advocates for women to be granted opportunities based on their interests and abilities, not their sex.
This book challenged various ideologies I had subconsciously accepted as true and compelled me to reevaluate them.
As a woman, I can attest to feeling as though certain professions, roles or desires were unacceptable for me according to societal norms. I've always been an extremely ambitious woman--never one to sit by and be ok with mediocrity in my life or in the lives of those I love.
I have felt immense frustration when my ideas were casually overlooked and yet deemed worthy of a standing ovation when uttered by a man. Or when my success, intelligence or opinions have been viewed as being "too intimidating" or "too much" to men who may not have aspired to do as much. It's as if I am expected to apologize for being great!
During a recent book club discussion, one of the ladies (an educator) mentioned that she is committing herself to being conscious of her language. Phrases like "boys don't do that" or "that's not lady like" were a few things she shared she'd like to be sensitive about.
Another great point made was that as women, when men approach us, we tend to feel the need to use excuses such as "I have a boyfriend" to thwart their unwanted pursuit.
I firmly believe that this is an issue of human rights. A man is not automatically strong just because he is a man. And a woman is not automatically a great cook just because she's a woman. The crazy thing is, I recognize how many preconceived ideas I will have to combat actively to cease in perpetuating some of these gender biases.
Let me be clear... I DO believe that there is a time and place for everything. Roles are in place to help things operate as a well oiled machine. I can admit that I'm not ready to forfeit a man paying for my meal or opening a door for me. (don't boo me off stage lol)
I know I STILL have my own biases and ideologies. Having a renewed mindset will not happen overnight. There are things that are considered "girly" that I looooove to do. And there are things considered "manly" that I looooove seeing men do. The thing is, this book isn't against men being men or women being women (whatever that means).
The gist of this book was for us to to simply consider the radical notion that women are human beings.
Feminism is not about hating men, their success or being angry. It's about equity.
Overall, I give this book 4 stars. I truly enjoyed it. I wish it were longer because the content was so rich! This is a short read. I finished it in 30 minutes and loved every second of it.
Interested in more? Watch Chimamanda's TED talk that inspired this book :)
How do you view feminism?