I have a confession to make: I too first learned about Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie through Beyoncé. But however you stumbled upon her work, Adichie is a force not just in literature but in culture at large. Seriously, her book We Should All Be Feminists should be required reading. (And oh wait, it already is in Sweden.)
Now she’s back with another required tome for us all. The set-up: A friend asked her how to raise a feminist daughter. In true writer fashion, Adichie wrote a long letter that she’s now turning into a book.
Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions really lays out how to raise a feminist child of any gender. Its advice doesn’t come as magical tips, but rather practical guidelines.
Most of the advice seems like basic sense if you’re already in feminism for the long haul. But for parents trying to build a praxis from the ground up, I can definitely see this being useful.
A few snippets of the book, provided by NPR, showcase Adichie’s clear and precise instructions:
“And for me it’s the consequence of likeability; it’s what that idea of likeability does. And I think instead we should teach girls to just be themselves, and that idea that you don’t have to be liked by everyone. And it kind of makes me wonder what kind of world would we have lived in if women had been allowed to be their full selves?”
“If we start early to start to challenge it, push back, then, you know, a woman is more likely, when she is an adult, to have those tools to say, ‘You know, in the end I’m going to live the life I want to live.'”
Even if you’re not raising a child, these are still good things to remember in your own life. How to live a feminist life not just in what you buy but how you treat others and, well, yourself. That’s something that’s timeless, yet Adichie knows just how to lay these things out for a modern audience.