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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20 Things That Happen When A Jersey Person Leaves Jersey

Hoagies, pizza, and bagels will never be the same.
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Ah, the "armpit of America." Whether you traveled far for college, moved away, or even just went on vacation--you know these things to be true about leaving New Jersey. It turns out to be quite a unique state, and leaving will definitely take some lifestyle adjustment.

1. You discover an accent you swore you never had.

Suddenly, people start calling you out on your pronunciation of "cawfee," "wooter," "begel," and a lot more words you totally thought you were saying normal.

2. Pork Roll will never exist again.

Say goodbye to the beautiful luxury that is pork roll, egg, and cheese on a bagel. In fact, say goodbye to high-quality breakfast sandwiches completely.

3. Dealing with people who use Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, or Dominos as their go-to pizza.

It's weird learning that a lot of the country considers chain pizza to be good pizza. You're forever wishing you could expose them to a real, local, family-style, Italian-owned pizza shop. It's also a super hard adjustment to not have a pizza place on every single block anymore.

4. You probably encounter people that are genuinely friendly.

Sure Jersey contains its fair share of friendly people, but as a whole, it's a huge difference from somewhere like the South. People will honestly, genuinely smile and converse with strangers, and it takes some time to not find it sketchy.

5. People drive way slower and calmer.

You start to become embarrassed by the road rage that has been implanted in your soul. You'll get cut off, flipped off, and honked at way less. In fact, no one even honks, almost ever.

6. You realize that not everyone lives an hour from the shore.

Being able to wake up and text your friends for a quick beach trip on your day off is a thing of the past. No one should have to live this way.

7. You almost speak a different language.

The lingo and slang used in the Jersey area is... unique. It's totally normal until you leave, but then you find yourself receiving funny looks for your jargon and way fewer people relating to your humor. People don't say "jawn" in place of every noun.

8. Hoagies are never the same.

Or as others would say, "subs." There is nothing even close in comparison.

9. Needing Wawa more than life, and there's no one to relate.

When you complain to your friends about missing Wawa, they have no reaction. Their only response is to ask what it is, but there's no rightful explanation that can capture why it is so much better than just some convenient store.

10. You have to learn to pump gas. Eventually.

After a long period of avoidance and reluctance, I can now pump gas. The days of pulling up, rolling down your window, handing over your card and yelling "Fill it up regular please!" are over. When it's raining or cold, you miss this the most.

11. Your average pace of walking is suddenly very above-average.

Your friends will complain that you're walking too fast - when in reality - that was probably your slow-paced walk. Getting stuck behind painfully slow people is your utmost inconvenience.

12. You're asked about "Jersey Shore" way too often.

No, I don't know Snooki. No, our whole state and shore is not actually like that. We have 130 miles of some of the best beach towns in the country.

13. You can't casually mention NYC without people idealizing some magical, beautiful city.

Someone who has never been there has way too perfect an image of it. The place is quite average and dirty. Don't get me wrong, I love a good NYC day trip as much as the next person, but that's all it is to you... a day trip.

14. The lack of swearing is almost uncomfortable.

Jerseyans are known for their foul mouths, and going somewhere that isn't as aggressive as us is quite a culture adjustment.

15. No more jughandles.

No longer do you have to get in the far right lane to make a left turn.

16. You realize that other states are not nearly as extreme about their North/South division.

We literally consider them two different states. There are constant arguments and debates about it. The only thing that North and South Jersey can agree on is that a "Central Jersey" does not exist.

17. Most places also are not in a war over meat.

"Pork roll" or "taylor ham"... The most famous debate amongst North and South Jersey. It's quite a stupid argument, however, considering it is definitely pork roll.

18. You realize you were spoiled with fresh produce.

After all, it's called the "Garden State" for a reason. Your mouth may water just by thinking about some fresh Jersey corn.

19. You'll regret taking advantage of your proximity to everything.

Super short ride to the beach and a super short ride to Philly or NYC. Why was I ever bored?

20. Lastly, you realize how much pride you actually have in the "armpit of America," even if you claimed to dislike it before.

After all, there aren't many places with quite as much pride. You find yourself defending your state at all necessary moments, even if you never thought that would be the case.

Cover Image Credit: Travel Channel

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Everyone Should Care About Latinx Issues, Regardless Of Their Own Identities

It's important no matter who you are or where you come from.

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Disclaimer: As someone who is white, I am speaking on a culture that is not my own and which I am not an authority on. Please remember this and do your own research. Reach out to those who do identify as Latinx but as always, respect that it is not the job of any minority population to field all questions and educate.

People often say that no matter how old you get or how much you think you know, you never stop learning. I've always found this to be true but recently I was reminded of just how true it really is. On March 27, Bowling Green State University held their 24th annual Latino/A/X issues conference. I had heard about the conference in passing much earlier in the month and it piqued my interest but admittedly slipped my mind pretty quickly after hearing about it. It wasn't until a friend of mine had informed me that she and another one of our friends were receiving awards at the conference that I finally put it on my calendar.

As I looked through the program at all of the different events scheduled for the day, the first to catch my eye was a theatrical performance called Spanish Ohio: Reflections on loss, gain acceptance and belonging moderated by a Bowling Green professor and friend, Emily Aguliar. I can confidently say that I have not, in a long time felt so confused and lost in a theatrical setting in a long time. The performance was presented in about 90% Spanish and 10% English and having little more than a basic understanding of Spanish from my high school days, I was able to understand a few key words or phrases here and there but more I just found myself intrigued by what I didn't understand...which was a lot. At the end of the performance, there was a sort of Q&A; where we as the audience could ask questions to the performers. During which time an audience member made a comment that really opened my mind.

She had said that it was important for people outside of the Latinx community to be lost in that moment. That the not understanding was what so many people whose first language isn't English feel all the time.

This statement really hit me hard and stuck with me. Even though I was at a performance at my college where I knew that I was safe, secure and taken care of, not knowing what was going on around me was overwhelming and a little unsettling. Not because I fear the existence of languages other than English, but because I felt as if I was expected to understand and take away things that I simply couldn't. And the fact that people move about in the world feeling like this every day in a society where they are not looked after or cared for was a painful but oh so necessary realization.

People are being forced to exist in a place that doesn't make it easy for them to do so. All too often the one piece of 'advice' given to those who speak any language other than English is simply to 'Just speak English' as if it is more important for the majority to feel comfortable and unthreatened by the existence of a language outside of our own than it is to respect the culture, language, and diversity of the Latinx community.

This conference really opened my eyes to the struggles of the Latinx community but at the same time, it highlighted and celebrated the achievements as well. I was lucky enough to be able to see two women who are very important to me receive awards for the work that they've done in and around the community. Both of these women are beyond deserving of the accolades they received. They are passionate, strong, opinionated women with knowledge and heart and I was thankful to be there to witness both of them receiving the recognition that they so deserve. It is SO important to recognize the contributions of people who have been pushed to the sort of outskirts of the conversation so to speak and I can say that it was very moving for me to see my friends as well as the others at the conference reveling in their identities and their cultures.

This is how it should be at all times, not just at a conference.

People should feel comfortable in their identities and people who are in positions of privilege should be using their voices to amplify the marginalized. I am so very thankful to have been able to attend this event and learn and grow in my understanding of culture, identity, and people. So, thank you to BGSU and LSU for putting in the work to make this possible for everyone, and to Emily and Camila-I'm proud of you both! Amplify the marginalized and underrepresented and never stop learning everything you can.

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