News Brief

Read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Feminist Manifesto on How to Raise a Child

In a 9,000-word letter to a friend, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie lays out 15 suggestions for how to raise your child a feminist.

Do yourself a favor and go check out Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Facebook page right now. The prolific Nigerian novelist and writer has a new piece for the world. The entry, a whopping 9,221 words, is a letter to a friend, Ijeawele, who has just given birth to a daughter, Chizalum Adaora. She's asked the feminist icon and recent mother for advice on how to raise her daughter a feminist.


“Please know that I take your charge – how to raise her feminist – very seriously. And I understand what you mean by not always knowing what the feminist response to situations should be,” Adichie begins me stating. “For me, feminism is always contextual. I don’t have a set-in-stone rule; the closest I have to a formula are my two ‘Feminist Tools’ and I want to share them with you as a starting point.”

The first of Adichie’s ‘Feminist Tools’ is one’s premise.

“The solid unbending belief that you start off with. What is your premise? Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not ‘if only.’ Not ‘as long as.’ I matter equally. Full stop.”

The second is a question: “can you reverse X and get the same results?”

“For example: many people believe that a woman’s feminist response to a husband’s infidelity should be to leave. But I think staying can also be a feminist choice, depending on the context. If Chudi sleeps with another woman and you forgive him, would the same be true if you slept with another man? If the answer is yes then your choosing to forgive him can be a feminist choice because it is not shaped by a gender inequality. Sadly, the reality in most marriages is that the answer to that question would often be no, and the reason would be gender-based – that absurd idea of ‘men will be men.’”

Adichie proceeds to lay out her fifteen suggestions for how her friend should raise her child. They are as follows:

  1. Be a full person
  2. Do it together
  3. Teach her that ‘gender roles’ is absolute nonsense
  4. Beware the danger of what I call Feminism Lite
  5. Teach Chizalum to read
  6. Teach her to question language
  7. Never speak of marriage as an achievement
  8. Teach her to reject likeability
  9. Give Chizalum a sense of identity
  10. Be deliberate about how you engage with her and her appearance
  11. Teach her to question our culture’s selective use of biology as ‘reasons’ for social norms
  12. Talk to her about sex and start early
  13. Romance will happen so be on board
  14. In teaching her about oppression, be careful not to turn the oppressed into saints
  15. Teach her about difference

Of course, we’re only just scratching the surface here. The piece is much more in depth and nuanced and very much worth a close read in its entirety. These aren’t just lessons for a mother raising a child. These rules are a good reminder for all of us.

Read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s new piece: “DEAR IJEAWELE, OR A FEMINIST MANIFESTO IN FIFTEEN SUGGESTIONS”

Music

Interview: Ranks ATM Makes ‘Substance Music’

South African hip-hop artist Ranks ATM on his latest EP 'Substance Music', working with Riky Rick and his crew African Trap Movement's new chapter.

Ranks ATM demands to be taken seriously. With every successive release, listeners are bound to pick up on both his personal and artistic growth. His latest EP, Substance Music, released towards the end of 2020, is an honest body of work that sees the artist divulge some aspects of his life while remaining playful and entertaining.

Young2unn, who produced a majority of the project, gave Ranks ATM beats that primarily consist of keys and strings cushioned by atmospheric pads and ethereal vocal samples panned for effect. The music is soulful enough for Ranks to tell his story and gritty enough to maintain his street aesthetic.

On Substance Music, the artist strikes the balance between playful banter and poignant expression of emotions. It's what makes his raps believable in general—he presents himself as a complete human who feels pain at times but also feels himself. Songs such as "Die For Me" and "How Could It Be" are laced with specific details that could have only been extracted from his life experiences, for instance, on the former, he raps, "You cheated on me with a gym freak, you did me dirty."

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