Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has some good advice about how to raise feminists
Over the weekend, activists, politicians, and celebs gathered in New York City to attend the Women in the World Summit and hear speakers like Hillary Clinton and Justin Trudeau talk about feminism. But it was the kick-off event to the summit that really set the tone for the whole event. Hosted by Katie Couric, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards and novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talked about raising feminists and surviving the current political climate as women. Adichie told Couric that she thinks raising feminists doesn’t have to be all that hard, but it does have to be deliberate. She advised parents:
"Don’t think about gender, and also be very alert to gender. By which I mean, I think even the most progressive parents often find themselves falling into the rote idea of you are a boy, and you are crying too much, and that’s not really okay because you are a boy, so that is what I mean."
The Americanah author added ignoring gender can feel impossible.
"Just think [of] children as individuals … but on the other hand we live in a world that that is so horribly gendered. For me, I think the major problem is the way we have constructed gender and also the binary nature of it. It is really dangerous because what happens is we don’t see women as individuals. We see people as you are a woman, therefore you should be a nice person, and it is very problematic.
She also had some words of wisdom for women fighting for gender equality. Adichie said that activists shouldn’t go around talking about the patriarchy, because it confuses most people and they don’t “know what the heck you’re talking about.”
She told the crowd, “Labels are fine maybe for academia but for the real world we need to get to the level of example, the level of story. I think that is what reaches people and emotions are what make people change or willing to change.” The author sort of has a point: Labels and big words can throw some people off, but that doesn’t mean you should not be vocal or loud about your feminism altogether — it’s more about knowing your audience.
As always, Adichie seems to have all the answers about being the best feminist you can be. And making sure the next generation comes up not being confused at all about how to crush the patriarchy.