I insist on the word feminist or feminism
March 8, 2017 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has a new book out - Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions. Adichie has shaped her thoughts around 15 suggestions for raising a feminist first developed as a letter to a friend on raising a daughter. The book is partly written to “to reclaim the word feminism from its abusers and misusers, a category within which she would include certain other progressives”. An extract published in the Guardian, along with an interview, includes Adichie’s realisation “in my anger about sexism, I often feel lonely".

In addition to her career as a writer Adichie is known as the creator of the TED Talk We Should All Be Feminists, which was later released as a book and a copy given to every 16 year old in Sweden. The sponsors of the gift included The Order of the Teaspoon. An extract of We Should All Be Feminists was sampled by Beyonce (previous Mefi discussion). In addition to being a prolific author Adichie has also been the face of No 7 make-up , a style essayist for Elle and a Dior Muse.

An earlier TED Talk about the underrepresentation of certain cultures was discussed on Metafilter and all previous Mefi mentions can be found here.
posted by roolya_boolya (7 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Awesome FPP! I knew virtually none of this.

That Dior Muse link from Vogue tho...

The well-appointed writer has spoken often about her fascination with fashion, possessing a love for prints she showed off today in droves. She donned a long-sleeved sculptural frock splashed with a monochromatic graphic pattern and accessorized with a pair of green and magenta shoes that matched the colorful patchwork pockets of her dress. It delivered as strong a message as her words.

As the great Les Grossman put it, "Now, I want you to take a step back and LITERALLY FUCK YOUR OWN FACE."
posted by radicalawyer at 2:23 PM on March 8, 2017

Is this referring to green and purple as the international colours of feminism?

Amazing FPP can't wait to dig in
posted by chapps at 6:11 PM on March 8, 2017

It delivered as strong a message as her words.

ha ha, yes. brings to mind one of the two [1] most loathsome ad slogans of our time: "Make a statement without saying a word (= shut the fuck up. or more nicely, women: why be listened to when you can just be smelled instead?).

I'm pretty sure the writer of that bit is a fine person who works within certain genre constraints and suffers for it like the rest of us. and I'd still read a hundred Vogues before I picked up a single Newsweek or USA Today or Playboy. but really.

I admire the subject greatly but I reserve the right to continue being horrified at this part: "The rare woman who did not appear well dressed and well lotioned was frowned upon, as though her appearance were a character failing. "She doesn't look like a person," my mother would say." I do not expect anybody to apply as brutal a critical reading to their own mother's words as they do to the words of anybody else in the world, but I still appreciate it when I can get it. because jesus. call me an unserious person because my clothes are too interesting, I won't like it and I won't take it, but at least you see some kind of person.

"I grew up, after all, in a world in which a woman's seriousness was not incompatible with an interest in appearance; if anything, an interest in appearance was expected of women who wanted to be taken seriously."

yeah, well. so did a lot of American women of a few generations above both of us. it was, in a word, oppressive. blah blah samuel johnson quote about humanity being like a drunk who falls off his horse on the left side because he fell off it on the right side the first time and you have to balance things out. but I submit that drawing any connection at all between appearance and seriousness in women is falling off the same side of the horse every time. and yes I am sure CNA knows that as well as I do, probably better, even if the Elle and Vogue caption writers and editors are dinguses of some variety.

[1] The other of the two is "Because you're worth it (= "it" being a L'Oreal unguent. yes, you are worth about $7.95, same as a tube of mascara.) women: you have a dollar value and you don't have to talk. that fascinating sensation you feel upon hearing these messages is "empowerment." you're welcome.
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:20 PM on March 8, 2017 [4 favorites]

I didn't know that Sweden is giving copies of her writing to all 16 year olds. Awesome.

I read Americanah the same year I read only books by women writers. It was one of my favorites.
posted by mostly vowels at 6:25 PM on March 8, 2017

also the Guardian extract is great. I agree with about 70-80 percent of everything I hear or read her say, which is about average for how I receive professional feminist writing. but unlike many other feminist writers, most of the parts I think are wrong bother me hardly at all. I think perhaps because she is so clear when expressing strong opinions. not that she's alone in that, but for so many people, audience consideration and intersectional awareness collapse into simplification and watery apologies. I like that her judgments are mostly right but I like it almost as much that she makes so many.
posted by queenofbithynia at 6:37 PM on March 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

Fantastic post, thank you!
posted by ellieBOA at 9:56 PM on March 8, 2017

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