This will be a short review because We Should all be Feminists is a very short book. In fact, it really is not a traditional book at all but rather an edited version of a speech that Chimamanda Adichie gave at a TEDx event that her brother put on in Euston in 2011. The video is powerful and you should watch it. The book, I might suggest, is better — but only because you can read and re-read it and find your favorite passages and highlight them or read them out loud. Or, perhaps, read them to your daughter or your son or your partner or your boss. Because, as the title implies, we should ALL read this book. But, before you read this book, go watch the TED Talk that made Chimamanda famous: The Danger of A Single Story It’s a TED Talk that’s been watched more than 10 million times. It’s a lesson that needs to be heard at least 10 million more times. And, it lays the foundation for this book, this later TEDx Talk.
We Should All Be Feminists contains a bevy of vignettes. Small slights that Chimamanada has experienced, that her friends have experienced. And, like racial micro-aggressions, these slights are not often spoken about. “Gender is not an easy conversation to have. It makes people uncomfortable, sometimes even irritable. Both men and women are resistant to talk about gender, or are quick to dismiss the problems of gender. Because thinking of changing the status quo is always uncomfortable.” Think about that. And replace the word ‘gender’ with the word ‘race’ It is still a true statement. And it made me think about how much greater a burden women of color have because we don’t talk about gender and we don’t talk about race and we surely, surely don’t talk about race and gender together. Chimamanda argues that we all must have these conversations. We must have them with our daughters, and more importantly with our sons. As Chimamanda closes her short book: “My own definition of a feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.” Amen Sister. Amen.