I'm finally getting around to sharing this fascinating read, loved by anyone who has come across it. What most of my readers know – or least the readers who know me at all – is that I love to read. Reading has always been a part of my life, though it has been reduced to a weekly activity rather than a daily one as it used to be. That being said, I have always set aside time to read, whether it's on a plane ride or on a Sunday afternoon. Lately, my focus on reading has shifted to a feminist reading lens, of sorts. I started off with Lena Dunham's 'Not That Kind of Girl', moving on to 'Bad Feminist' by Roxanne Gay. My knowledge of feminist reading is limited, which is why I was keen to explore the world of feminism and equality through literature. But among all the incredible reads I found, one stood out in particular. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche's We Should All Be Feminists.
At just 50 pages, her world-famous TED Talk-turned-novel is perhaps the most accessible and succinct approach to the wildly-misinterpreted third-wave feminist movement. The author has long been a favorite of mine, ever since I discovered her stellar debut a few years ago. Her third, and shortest, offering began as a speech and was then developed into this short book, perfect for those with limited reading time. (I previously reviewed the book for the Singapore American School newspaper, which you can read here). Throughout the book, Adichie focuses on the gender differences between men and women, from wages to the domestic roles. Her passionate tone and staunch views are clear from the first sentences onwards, with an assertiveness that is balanced with an apparent motive to educate. Adichie balances this intention with anecdotes, examples from her life and those around her, and portraying the gender barriers our society has inevitably created. Among the most important factors of the book is the focus on both women and men: the inequality women face and the unrealistic views of masculinity faced by men. In addition to this, she eradicates the widespread view that feminism is a "bad wold". In a review on Bustle, the book is described as, "Brief and accessible, clear-eyed and level-headed, empathetic and determined." Adichie does not push her views on the matter onto readers; her writing pushes you in that direction without any aggression. If anything, she leaves us questioning why feminism isn't as prominent as it should be – the definition in itself is vouching for social and economic equality.
The author says she believes in the power of a narrative. This belief was evidently a supporting factor in the effectiveness of the novel. In an interview with Vogue, the author stated, "We don't really talk about gender, and I'm very much a believer in the power of discourse, in having conversations, in trying to reach out." For even the most skeptical of readers, feminism can be approached with open eyes and an ease that Adichie provides so beautifully. Buy a copy of the book here.