Review: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie review header

Published: July 29th, 2014 by Vintage | Series: N/A | Length: 48 pages | Genre: Nonfiction, essay, feminist | Source: Borrowed from the library | Possible Triggers: Sexism

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Summary from Goodreads:

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.

After seeing so many bloggers rave about We Should All Be Feminists, I decided to check it out from the library and read it and see what all the fuss was about. Even though it ultimately didn’t really present with anything new, I still enjoyed reading it.

This is an incredibly quick, short read. At just under 50 pages, it can easily be read in one sitting. Not only is it short, but the language is very accessible and not dense like a lot of nonfiction tends to be. I was able to read this in just about a half hour.

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I have to admit, though, that this really didn’t give me any new information. As someone who has identified as feminist for several years, I already knew a lot of what the author discusses here. She talks about the way in which men are often assumed to have money whereas women are not, the stigma attached the word “feminism,” the gender wage gap, etc. It was all stuff that I already knew about. If you’re just getting introduced to feminism, this is a great start. But if like me, you’re already familiar with the topic and issues, it’s unlikely it’ll teach you anything new.

The only exception to that were the Nigerian cultural examples. I know very little (aka nothing) about Nigeria, so I did like that the author included examples of what it’s like to be a woman there. There was a good mix of Nigerian and the more typical US/UK examples.

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All in all, We Should All Be Feminists is a nice introduction to feminism and an enjoyable, quick read. But if you’re someone who has been learning about feminism for awhile, I wouldn’t expect to be introduced to anything new here, aside from some examples of sexism in Nigeria. Despite it not teaching me anything, I still really enjoyed reading it and I look forward to reading more by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in the future.

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