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Monday, November 3, 2014

We Should All Be Feminists

Just look at Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's We Should All Be Feminists. It's a title that is basically calling your name. No matter your gender.

Is "feminism" such a nasty word? Should we be afraid to call ourselves feminists? What does it actually mean to be one? It's not exclusively a club for man-hating, cargo-pant-wearing, un-patriotic women. Although they are welcome to be feminists, too. Feminism is about inclusion and being on equal footing with one another--it's about being acknowledged and respected for being a human being. So in that vein, we should all be feminists.

I loved this treatise. This was originally Adichie's TEDx talk on the very same subject, and it is well worth watching and reading. It is an impassioned plea to view feminism as a vital part of being human, and being recognized as a fellow person. One night in Nigeria, she gives a man a tip for helping her park her car. After pulling the money from her purse and handing it the man, he turns to Adichie's male companion and thanks him for the very tip Adichie handed to him. Why? Because of the assumption that her money couldn't possibly be anything other than that of the man she is with. Why didn't her male friend speak up and say that the tip wasn't from him? For reasons such as these, we should all be feminists.

My first thought when reading this was that these are things I have been hearing over and over again as of late; but then it occurred to me that Adichie’s call was aimed at her native Nigeria where the embracing of the concept of feminism is only just beginning. For as much resistance as we see in the United States, being called a feminist, at least for my generation, doesn’t have as much of a sting as it does in Adichie’s home. And to be frank--we can never hear words such as hers too often. For these reasons, we should all be…(let’s say it together!)…feminists.

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