Review | We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


Paperback (Fourth Estate, 64 pages)

First published 2014; this edition published 2014

Rating on Goodreads: 4 stars

“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 humour 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 behaviours that marginalise 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 – 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 best-selling 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.”

I was aware of this, but didn’t pick it up until I was in the queue at my local Waterstones and saw it on the counter. Of course, I had to get it – I love any discourse on the concept of feminism. I am passionate about gender equality, and Adichie is equally so.

(I have not seen the TEDx talk that this essay is adapted from, so I am not influenced by it in this review.)

Adichie brings to the table a powerful yet simply written piece on feminism – and indeed, feminism in her native Nigeria. She writes eloquently but without density, and the essay reads beautifully. I found myself agreeing with every point she wrote, and finished the piece feeling both empowered and enlivened.

However, I do wish Adichie had spoken of including the trans* community in her essay. It seems that so many pieces are written on feminism, but are trans* exclusive. It is a shame, and for me it lets down the essay, but overall, this is a good starting point for an introduction to feminism. Short, sharp-witted, and straight to the point.


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