This is my first ever review of a book that I haven’t actually read…. I’ve only listened to it. The quality of the recording is superb and the book is read by the author herself.
If you’re a fan of popular music, you might recognize Adichie’s voice from Beyoncé’s song “Flawless.” The essay is based on the TEDx talk that appears in Beyoncé’s song.
We Should All Be Feminists is a short pamphlet about the importance of reclaiming the word ‘feminist’. It is based on the author’s personal experience living both in Nigeria and in the United States. I have two favourite fragments – first when Adichie talks about when she was young and she was told that she should use the word ‘feminist’ only if surrounded by qualifiers, ie “A Happy African Feminist Who Does Not Hate Men”. Second, when she talks about how because she wanted to be respected by her audience, she decided not to wear nice feminine clothes, but to wear an ugly suit. And how she wishes she had worn nice clothes because she would have felt more confident. Both are situations I have encountered myself, and I identify 100% with.
Adichie’s voice is warm and friendly and the situations she talks about are all too familiar to most women around the world. Her confidence in the possibility of changing the world for the better is infectious.
If you’re looking for a theoretical overview of feminism from Mary Wollstonecraft through Simone de Beauvoir and to Judith Butler, you are not in the right place. But this is an inspiring warm little book about the importance of women’s rights. Read it (or listen to it) and enjoy.
(Find an extract from the essay here, if you want to look at a sample of Adichie’s writing).