5 Essential Quotes From Chimamanda Hgozi Adichie

5 Essential Quotes From Chimamanda Hgozi Adichie

"And this is how it starts: we must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently.”
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On a recent trip home, I picked up one of those small books sold at lifestyle stores often used as small gifts or side table decoration. This one just so happened to be a small work found at Anthropologie entitled We Should All Be Feminists.

Before I begin, and to fight the societal understanding of the label feminist, the author begins by calling herself a “Happy African Feminist Who Does Not Hate Men And Likes To Wear Lip Gloss And High Heels For Herself And Not For Men”. Not an angry woman, not a man-hater, a feminist.

This tiny yellow book is the publication of Chimamanda Hgozi Adichie’s 2012 TEDxEuston speech. I’ll try not to spoil the 48 pages for you, but Adichie, a Nigerian novelist, goes over her ordeal with claiming her name as a feminist and gives her interpretation of why we need feminism in our modern world.

Here are five passages I think we all should adopt into our lives:

1. “What struck me – with her and many other female American friends I have – is how invested they are in being ‘likable’. How they have been raised to believe that their being likable is very important...”

The other day I took a personality test and it said I’m in the 19th percentile of agreeableness–ouch. Apparently, I am callous, rude, and easy to judge. My boyfriend reassured me that I am not a rude person BUT I’m “not afraid to rub people the wrong way.” It took me a moment to realize this really wasn’t a criticism after all. In fact, being “not afraid to rub people the wrong way” is a (perhaps poorly worded) way to say your biggest concern is not the approval of others or being “likable.” It’s a double-edged sword: girls who care too much are “fake” and girls who don’t care enough are “insensitive.”

As of 2017, there are approximately 7.6 billion people on Earth. On average, let’s say, you meet 3 new people a day, that’s a little over 1000 new acquaintances each year. It is statistically impossible for each and every person to like you. Be kind, but don’t stifle your true self for “likability”.

2. “We raise girls to see each other as competitors–not for jobs or accomplishments, which in my opinion can be a good thing, but for the attention of men.”

I don’t have enough mental capacity to keep track of the number of times I’ve been in discord with another girl over a boy. Boys are not objects, they are not meant to be won, they are not meant to be fought over. They’re people too. Competing with each other for other people is an absolutely futile waste of everyone’s time. If anything, each person (man AND woman) should value themselves as a prize. We should love and support one another, not tear each other down. We have an obligation by being human to respect all other people.

3. “We teach girls shame.”

Shame is defined as: “a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety; something that brings censure or reproach.” Regardless of the fact I’m “not afraid to rub people the wrong way”, I STILL notice a predisposition to feel shame, not only for my wrongdoings, which is acceptable but for things I perceive I should be ashamed of. I feel shame for my shortcomings, my sexuality, and my femininity, the presence or lack thereof.

I sometimes pass over details I subconsciously label “shameful.” It’s a horrible habit to have, and too many of us, both girls and boys, possess it. My best friend (peep her in the cover photo of this article) taught me much about shame and disregarding it. This girl seriously couldn’t give two f*cks. Madison, I commend you.

4. “Gender matters everywhere in the world. And I would like today to ask that we should begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how it starts: we must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently.”

What I appreciate so much about Adichie’s speech is how she places the blame in everyone’s hands but vilifies no one. There is fault on all sides, you can neither simply look at women and say, “It is your fault for being complacent,” nor can you turn to men and say, “It is your fault for subordinating women.” There is no one person or peoples to blame; it is an epidemic we all must combat. She looks at the situation with hope and takes the blame into her own hands saying that we must start fresh with our children, and teach them to learn from our mistakes.

5. “And when, all those years ago, I looked the word up in the dictionary, it said: Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes.”

Thus, we can, and should, all be feminists.


Cover Image Credit: Madison Pelletier

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8 Struggles Of Being 21 And Looking 12

The struggle is real, my friends.
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“You'll appreciate it when you're older." Do you know how many times my mom has told me this? Too many to count. Every time I complain about looking young that is the response I get. I know she's right, I will love looking young when I'm in my 40s. However, looking young is a real struggle in your 20s. Here's what we have to deal with:

1. Everyone thinks your younger sister or brother is the older one.

True story: someone actually thought my younger sister was my mom once. I've really gotten used to this but it still sucks.

2. You ALWAYS get carded.

Every. Single. Time. Since I know I look young, I never even bothered with a fake ID my first couple of years of college because I knew it would never work. If I'm being completely honest, I was nervous when I turned 21 that the bartender would think my real driver's license was a fake.

3. People look at your driver's license for an awkward amount of time.

So no one has actually thought my real driver's license is fake but that doesn't stop them from doing a double take and giving me *that look.* The look that says, “Wow, you don't look that old." And sometimes people will just flat out say that. The best part is this doesn't just happen when you're purchasing alcohol. This has happened to me at the movie theater.

SEE ALSO: 10 Things People Who Look 12 Hate Hearing

4. People will give you *that look* when they see you drinking alcohol.

You just want to turn around and scream “I'M 21, IT'S LEGAL. STOP JUDGING ME."

5. People are shocked to find out you're in college.

If I had a dollar for every time someone had a shocked expression on their face after I told them I'm a junior in college I could pay off all of my student loan debt. It's funny because when random people ask me how school is going, I pretty much assume they think I'm in high school and the shocked look on their face when I start to talk about my college classes confirms I'm right.

6. For some reason wearing your hair in a ponytail makes you look younger.

I don't understand this one but it's true. Especially if I don't have any makeup on I could honestly pass for a child.

7. Meeting an actual 12-year-old who looks older than you.

We all know one. That random 12-year-old who looks extremely mature for her age and you get angry because life isn't fair.

8. Being handed a kids' menu.

This is my personal favorite. It happens more often than it should. The best part of this is it's your turn to give someone a look. The look that says, "You've got to be kidding me".

Looking young is a real struggle and I don't think everyone realizes it. However, with all the struggles that come with looking young, we still take advantage of it. Have you ever gone to a museum or event where if you're under a certain age you get in for a discounted price? Yeah? Well, that's when I bet you wish you were us. And kids' meals are way cheaper than regular meals so there have definitely been a couple times when I've kept that kids' menu.

So, all in all, it's not the worst thing in the world but it's definitely a struggle.

Cover Image Credit: Jenna Collins

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How Growing Up In A Culturally Diverse Environment Changed Me

We are all human.

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I can proudly say that I am from Montgomery County, Maryland, more specifically from the city of Gaithersburg. According to a 2018 study by WalletHub, three of the top 10 culturally diverse cities in the United States are located in Montgomery County. Those cities include Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Silver Spring.

I have lived in Montgomery County ever since the day I was born. Growing up in such a culturally and economically diverse area has educated me with the value of accepting differences. Since I was exposed to an assortment of cultures at such a young age, I hardly ever noticed differences among my peers and I. The everyday exposure to various cultures taught me to embrace diversity and look beyond appearances such as the color of someone's skin. I was able to open my eyes to other ideas, lifestyles, and backgrounds.

Ever since I was a child, I was not only taught to welcome different cultures and ethnic groups, but I was always surrounded by them. From my elementary to high school years, every classroom was filled with racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity. Coming from someone apart of the Caucasian race, I was often the minority in school. Not everyone is as fortunate to experience such a multicultural society.

Since being from Montgomery County, I have grown up as a person with an open mind and strong values. Diversity has not only taught me to be more mindful but has also helped me become more of a respectful person. Learning about other cultures and backgrounds is essential to help societies strive, but experiencing it firsthand is something that no one can teach you.

After being in countless culturally diverse situations, I have been provided with many lifelong advantages. I was taught to be inclusive, fair, and understanding. I am able to be comfortable and accepting of all cultures and religions. After growing up in such a culturally diverse environment, I now develop culture shock when I'm not surrounded by diversity.

Our world is filled with numerous different kinds of cultures, ethnic groups, and religions. Being raised in a diverse environment has prepared me for what the real world looks like and taught me exactly what equality means. As I was growing up, I was always taught to be nonjudgemental of others and to embrace all individuals for who they are.

Diversity molds our identities. Every individual is unique, but each of us shares at least one trait — we are all human. Who would rather experience a homogeneous society, when they could constantly be learning about other cultures and building diverse relationships? When growing up, I never realized how impacted and truly thankful I would be to of had the opportunities to experience diversity each day. So here is a long overdue thank you to my parents for choosing to raise me in such an incredibly diverse place all of my life.

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