Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

33585392Title: Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Pub Date: March 7th, 2017

My Rating: ★★★★★

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the best-selling author of Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists comes a powerful new statement about feminism today–written as a letter to a friend.

A few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie received a letter from a dear friend from childhood, asking her how to raise her baby girl as a feminist. Dear Ijeawele is Adichie’s letter of response.

Here are fifteen invaluable suggestions–compelling, direct, wryly funny, and perceptive–for how to empower a daughter to become a strong, independent woman. From encouraging her to choose a helicopter, and not only a doll, as a toy if she so desires; having open conversations with her about clothes, makeup, and sexuality; debunking the myth that women are somehow biologically arranged to be in the kitchen making dinner, and that men can “allow” women to have full careers, Dear Ijeawele goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century. It will start a new and urgently needed conversation about what it really means to be a woman today.

I absolutely loved this book! And I read it in a time when I needed it the most, I believe. Adichie delivers fifteen suggestions how to raise a girl to be a feminist, I wished she also wrote a book how to raise a boy to be a feminist But I believe I can apply some of the suggestions for how to raise a boy too. I am not a mother, but I’m an aunt of two boys and I am engaged in raising them, and I want to give them good examples and I wish them to grow up in a supporting environment, that is not oppressing them because of their gender. I don’t want them to grow up in believing in all those ‘social norms’ of what’s male and what’s female.  And if we want the world to be an equal place, we cannot just work with girls to fight the norms, we also need to teach the boys to fight harmful social norms.

Adichie mentions in one of her suggestions how the society is forcing girls to wear pastel, light and pinkish colours and play with dolls and since the young age learn how to be passive. While boys’ clothes are full of vibrant colours and their toys are focused on action. As I’m aunt of two boys, I always looked the ‘boy’ sections in toy shops, and somehow forgot about this harmful division of toys by gender. On my nephews birthday party, one of the invited girls came with a doll, it was the first time he saw a doll (I think). And he instantly grabbed her, and kissed her and hugged her. He saw in this baby doll his baby brother, and he copied actions he sees his parents do when taking care of his baby brother. Where I saw this beautiful thing, other saw boy playing with a doll and started asking him: oh, are you a girl now, playing with a doll? This was devastating for me, but I told my nephew that he doesn’t have to worry about that, he can play with whatever he wants. I wish I also said to the people who were laughing that the last time I checked, you do not judge someone’s gender based on with what toys they play.

I encourage every parent or person involved in raising a child to read this book and try as much as they can to adhere to the suggestions. If we all do it, the world will become a better place.

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2 thoughts on “Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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