We Should All Be Feminists

We Should All Be Feminists

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by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed Tedx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun. With humor and levity, here Adichie…  See more details below


What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed Tedx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun. With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences—in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad—offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike. Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

An eBook short.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Nuanced and rousing.” —Vogue 
“Adichie is so smart about so many things.” —San Francisco Chronicle
Kirkus Reviews
An enchanting plea by the award-winning Nigerian novelist to channel anger about gender inequality into positive change. Employing personal experience in her examination of "the specific and particular problem of gender," National Book Critics Circle winner Adichie (Americanah, 2013, etc.) gently and effectively brings the argument about whether feminism is still relevant to an accessible level for all readers. An edited version of a 2012 TEDxEuston talk she delivered, this brief essay moves from the personal to the general. The author discusses how she was treated as a second-class citizen back home in Nigeria (walking into a hotel and being taken for a sex worker; shut out of even family meetings, in which only the male members participate) and suggests new ways of socialization for both girls and boys (e.g., teaching both to cook). Adichie assumes most of her readers are like her "brilliant, progressive" friend Louis, who insists that women were discriminated against in the past but that "[e]verything is fine now for women." Yet when actively confronted by an instance of gender bias—the parking attendant thanked Louis for the tip, although Adichie had been the one to give it—Louis had to recognize that men still don't recognize a woman's full equality in society. The example from her childhood at school in Nigeria is perhaps the most poignant, demonstrating how insidious and entrenched gender bias is and how damaging it is to the tender psyches of young people: The primary teacher enforced an arbitrary rule ("she assumed it was obvious") that the class monitor had to be a boy, even though the then-9-year-old author had earned the privilege by winning the highest grade in the class. Adichie makes her arguments quietly but skillfully. A moving essay that should find its way into the hands of all students and teachers to provoke new conversation and awareness.

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Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
A Vintage Short
Sold by:
Random House
File size:
3 MB

Read an Excerpt

We Should All Be Feminists

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Random House LLC

Copyright © 2015 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-101-91176-1


This is a modified version of a talk I delivered in December 2012 at TEDxEuston, a yearly conference focused on Africa. Speakers from diverse fields deliver concise talks aimed at challenging and inspiring Africans and friends of Africa. I had spoken at a different TED conference a few years before, giving a talk titled 'The Danger of the Single Story' about how stereotypes limit and shape our thinking, especially about Africa. It seems to me that the word feminist, and the idea of feminism itself, is also limited by stereotypes. When my brother Chuks and best friend Ike, both co-organizers of the TEDxEuston conference, insisted that I speak, I could not say no. I decided to speak about feminism because it is something I feel strongly about. I suspected that it might not be a very popular subject, but I hoped to start a necessary conversation. And so that evening as I stood onstage, I felt as though I was in the presence of family – a kind and attentive audience, but one that might resist the subject of my talk. At the end, their standing ovation gave me hope.

* * *


Okoloma was one of my greatest childhood friends. He lived on my street and looked after me like a big brother: if I liked a boy, I would ask Okoloma's opinion. Okoloma was funny and intelligent and wore cowboy boots that were pointy at the tips. In December 2005, in a plane crash in southern Nigeria, Okoloma died. It is still hard for me to put into words how I felt. Okoloma was a person I could argue with, laugh with and truly talk to. He was also the first person to call me a feminist.

I was about fourteen. We were in his house, arguing, both of us bristling with half- baked knowledge from the books we had read. I don't remember what this particular argument was about. But I remember that as I argued and argued, Okoloma looked at me and said, 'You know, you're a feminist.'

It was not a compliment. I could tell from his tone – the same tone with which a person would say, 'You're a supporter of terrorism.'

I did not know exactly what this word feminist meant. And I did not want Okoloma to know that I didn't know. So I brushed it aside and continued to argue. The first thing I planned to do when I got home was look up the word in the dictionary.

Now fast-forward to some years later. In 2003, I wrote a novel called Purple Hibiscus, about a man who, among other things, beats his wife, and whose story doesn't end too well. While I was promoting the novel in Nigeria, a journalist, a nice, well-meaning man, told me he wanted to advise me. (Nigerians, as you might know, are very quick to give unsolicited advice.)

He told me that people were saying my novel was feminist, and his advice to me – he was shaking his head sadly as he spoke – was that I should never call myself a feminist, since feminists are women who are unhappy because they cannot find husbands.

So I decided to call myself a Happy Feminist.


Excerpted from We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Copyright © 2015 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Excerpted by permission of Random House LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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We Should All Be Feminists 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
DraconisRW More than 1 year ago
By defining feminism and what it is to be a woman in the world, Adichie sends forth both comfort and a challenge. Once when I was young, my great-grandmother told me about our city before pavement, and how they were sure cars would never last because they were impractical. Had the world listened, instead of putting down pavement, we'd all still be walking or riding horses. Women today too often accept the dated definition of what it is to be female, and content themselves with walking the dirt roads when there is a better way. It requires changes. It isn't easy. It will never be easy. The day we think it is, we will have forgotten how much was given to have it. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A perfect way of saying what I have been thinking all this time. She takes the very definition of feminism and explains it. Many can understand what it means to be a feminist and why it is so important just by reading this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book is great video on youtube more profound
Anonymous 3 months ago
Just a chapter from a bigger book? I am panning every "vintage short" I see.
Anonymous 5 months ago
We shoukd
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