Step by Step: How to Raise a Feminist Daughter
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Step by Step: How to Raise a Feminist Daughter

Much easier said than done.

Step by Step: How to Raise a Feminist Daughter
About Happy Books

Despite having a busy life, I am currently on a mission to read as much feminist literature as possible. On my reading shelf thus far is Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, Warsan Shire’s Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth, and recently, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions.

For short—Dear Ijeawele began as Facebook Post (don’t all our best ideas start this way) that Adichie posted in October of 2016. In that post, she drafted a list of 15 suggestions on raising a daughter in the most feminist way possible for her close friend Ijeawele. The text post was later expanded and turned into a book that was released in March of 2017.

At only 21 years old, I am not sure if I ever will have children or not, but books like Dear Ijeawele get me thinking. They get me to contemplate about how I would raise a child, a girl child especially, with strong feminist principals. Adichie alleviates my future stress significantly with this text, giving the ins and outs of feminist parenting, from how to speak to your daughter, to how to destroy gender roles in your household, to how to teach her to be a full person amongst many others. As I said before, I am not sure what the future holds for me, but if I have a daughter, I will tell her some of these things.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions:

1. “When there is true equality, resentment does not exist. “

2. “Being a feminist is like being pregnant. You either are or you are not. You either believe in the full equality of men and women or you do not.”

3. “. . . but here is a sad truth: our world is full of men and women who do not like powerful women. We have been so conditioned to think of power as male that a powerful woman is an aberration. And so she is policed . . . is she humble? Does she smile? Is she grateful enough?”

4. “If we don’t place the straitjacket of gender roles on young children, we give them space to reach their full potential.”

5. “I have kept my name because it is my name. I have kept my name because I like my name.”

6. “Her job is not to make herself likeable, her job is to be her full self, a self that is honest and aware of the equal humanity of other people.”

7. “We teach girls to be likeable, to be nice, to be false. And we do not teach boys the same. This is dangerous.”

8. “Social norms are created by human beings, and there is no social norm that cannot be changed.”

9. “To make sure she doesn’t inherit shame from you, you have to free yourself of your own inherited shamed.”

10. “People walk different paths in the word, and that as long as those paths do no harm to others, they are valid paths that she must respect.”

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