On Tuesday, Nigerian feminist novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie released a new book on how to raise a feminist.
According to Okay Africa, the idea for the book came about through a Facebook post she shared last October — 9,221 word feminist manifesto — in the form of a letter to her friend Ijeawele, who had just given birth to a daughter and sought Adichie's advice on how to raise her as a feminist. The letter gained so much traction that she decided to adapt it into her latest book, titled "Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions". Adichie, who is a mother to a 15-month-old daughter, offers pertinent parenting advice, words of encouragement and wisdom from a feminist perspective.
Time magazine did an interview with Adichie on her book and her thoughts on parenting of daughters. Here is the Huffington Post's selection of most pertinent truths Adichie heeds us on:
1) Having recently birthed a daughter herself, Adichie says that parenting a daughter has shown her:
how life is messy [and] how ideology doesn't neatly match real life... There's a certain amount of flexibility that's important to have. Here's an example: I don't particularly like the idea of girls wearing pink, and I don't find pink very attractive. When my child is old enough to negotiate with me, if she wants everything in pink, I will let her have it — but I'll have conversations with her about why the pink/blue binary is a problem.
2) "In teaching [girls] about oppression, be careful not to turn the oppressed into saints", she writes. In her interview with Time, she explained further that:
"I think sometimes in discourse around people who have been oppressed, there's a need to put this halo around their heads and make them seem perfect, because then they're more deserving of our sympathy or empathy. I think it happens a lot with black people in this country. So if a black person has experienced racism, God save that black person if that black person has also done something not-so-great in their past, because somehow it then becomes a reason why they deserve the racist act. Perfection shouldn't be a condition for justice, or even for empathy and sympathy"
3) She writes that it is important for a mother to have a job even if she is not happy in that job, because:
...A woman must have her own.... of course the ideal is you love your job, but the reality is that many people don't. But I also don't think that that's a reason not to have a job, particularly if you're a woman. I think to be female is often to be encouraged to measure your worth based on how much of yourself you're able to sacrifice. A woman having a job is kind a pushback to that idea. It's the idea of a woman being her full, separate self.