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”

popular
Ugandan prominent human rights activist and feminist Stella Nyanzi (C) reacts to police officers during a protest against the amount and handling of police investigations into murders and kidnappings of women in Kampala on June 5, 2018. (Photo by SUMY SADURNI/AFP/Getty Images)

Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Found Guilty of Cyber Harassment Against President Museveni

The activist has been sentenced to 18 months in prison over a poem she wrote about the president last year, referencing vaginas.

Stella Nyanzi, the outspoken Ugandan activist and former research fellow at Makerere University's Institute for Social Research, was found guilty of cyber harassment against President Yoweri Museveni on Friday, after sharing a controversial birthday poem for the president last September.

Nyanzi was arrested in November of last year after sharing the poem on her Facebook page, part of which read: "I wish the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

Keep reading... Show less
popular

Nigerian Women Stood Up to Toxic Masculinity During the #MarketMarch In Lagos

Nigerian women successfully protested against sexual harassment in markets on Saturday, despite being met with opposition by antagonistic men.

Nigerian women gathered in Lagos over the weekend to protest against the prevalence of sexual harassment in markets, with the first-ever #MarketMarch in Yaba.

The conversation around sexual assault in markets began earlier this year online, when Twitter user, Ozzy Etomi shared her experience of being harrased by men when visiting the market as a child, and how the behavior had become normalized. Many other women began to speak out, sharing similar stories of dealing with unwanted advances from men while at the market.

Several women took part in the demonstration, marching from Ojuelegba to Yaba with signs that read "Stop touching us" and "No be by force to buy."

Keep reading... Show less
News Brief
(Photo by Emma McIntyre/BAFTA LA/Getty Images for BAFTA LA)

Daniel Kaluuya Is Producing a Live-Action 'Barney' Movie with Mattel

Yes, you read that correctly.

In a move that absolutely no one saw coming, Oscar-nominated actor Daniel Kaluuya is set to produce a live-action Barney movie in conjunction with Mattel Films. The Hollywood Reporter first broke the story.

Kaluuya will co-produce the film as part of his 59% production banner, which signed a first-look deal with Paramount back in May. Speaking on his involvement with the project and the impact of Barney & Friends, Kaluuya had this to say: "Barney was a ubiquitous figure in many of our childhoods, then he disappeared into the shadows, left misunderstood. We're excited to explore this compelling modern-day hero and see if his message of 'I love you, you love me' can stand the test of time."

Keep reading... Show less
popular
(Photo Courtesy of the Artist)

Busy Signal Drops New Video for '100%' Featuring Afro B

Premiere: The Jamaican dancehall star and afrowave artist partner up for a comical new song and video.

Busy Signal has teamed up with Afro B for a fiery song and hilarious video for their new track, "100%".

Born and bred in Jamaica, Busy Signal's signature dancehall-reggae sound with an electronic lean is always a refreshing twist. His sound mixed with "Drogba (Joanna)" star Afro B's smooth afrowave style makes this new track, well, 100% dope.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.