We Should All Be Feminists (Adichie)

I like the idea of publishing the text of TED talks, though I’m sure not everyone speaks or writes as well as Adichie. Her initial one – “The Danger of a Single Story” (http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story?language=en) – is just astonishing. (In fact, why not publish both in one volume?) But it was great to get the chance to read this 48-page essay / talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg3umXU_qWc).

I’ve always been unclear what is meant by “feminism.” I’ve heard students and others refer to the stereotypes Adichie references here. But her understanding of feminism resonates with mine and, given that, I do agree with her title.

Her non-fiction, just like her fiction, is just a joy to read. She weaves anecdotes with analysis in an engaging way. While she gives equal time to the major problems with our perception of the genders (for example, unequal pay for equal work), I appreciate her attention to the small things, like the time she was not allowed to be classroom monitor even though she had earned the highest score on a test. The classroom monitor job, she was told, was reserved for boys. Adichie reminds us that “[i]f we do something over and over again, it becomes normal” and “if we see the same thing over and over again, it becomes normal” (13). Why is it that we call a group of people – both males and females – “guys,” for example?

Read it, watch it, encourage TED to publish more of these.

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