'The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizingh how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn't have the weight of gender expectations'.
A short essay based on a TED-Talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's We Should All Be Feminists is a simple yet insightful explanation why the current gender attribution in life, social assignments and professional projections is wrong. The 'We' from the title means that me, and you, and your neighbour and your son all of us, we need to challenge those narrow restrictive roles because are simply obsolete. The mindsets persist through, perpetuaded through the daily cultural and educational stereotypes. 'A man is as likely as a woman to be intelligent, innovative, creative. We have evolved. But our ideas of gender have not evolved very much'
'I am trying to unlearn many lessons of gender I internalized while growing up. But I sometimes still feel vulnerable in the face of gender expectations'. More than in other historical moment, we have more freedom to define ourselves. 'Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture'.
However, very often the gender gap is the result of educational patterns. 'If we keep seeing only men as heads of corporation, it starts to seem ''natural'' that only men should be heads of corporations'. 'We spend too much time teaching girls to worry about what boys think of them. But the reverse is not the case. We don't teach boys to care about being likeable. We spend too much telling girls that they cannot be angry or aggressive or though which is bad enough, but then we turn around and either praise or excuse men for the same reasons'.
Regardless how advanced and progressive one might consider him or herself, assuming a challenging positive role in the gender determination process means going through an inner process. We need not only think repeatedly about it, but being strong enough to assume the role and become a voice of change yourself.
'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 it better''. Which means a definition in progress, whose content is made by every man and woman who is challenging the traditional role setting. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a 'Happy African Feminist Who Does not Hate Men And Who Likes to Wear Lip Gloss and High Heels For Herself and Not For Men'. What Feminist are you?
Many of the ideas outlined in the essay need definitely more development and focus, and I would have to follow-up with other writings by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, but maybe it is up to each and every one of us to write our own feminist manifesto(es).
Rating: 4 stars