Feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie offers the simplest, but most perfect, parenting advice
Whether you know her as the woman whose voice lit up Beyoncé’s hit song “***Flawless,” offering a powerful definition of feminism, or as the author of We Should All Be Feminists, Americanah, and other must-read books, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie blessed us with A+ parenting advice recently, and we are dutifully taking notes.
In an interview with Time, Ngozi Adichie — who published a new book this week, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, on feminist parenting — opened up about her recent pregnancy (and why she kept it under wraps as long as possible) and how best to practice feminist parenting and raise feminist children.
In the Time interview, Ngozi Adichie reflects on how her feminism has intersected with her role as a mom.
“[Having a daughter] made me see clearly how life is messy, how ideology doesn’t neatly match real life,” said the Nigerian author. “There’s a certain amount of flexibility that’s important to have. Here’s an example: I don’t particularly like the idea of girls wearing pink, and I don’t find pink very attractive. When my child is old enough to negotiate with me, if she wants everything in pink, I will let her have it — but I’ll have conversations with her about why the pink/blue binary is a problem.”
She also offered this pearl of wisdom for dealing with those who criticize her daughter’s hair.
"[My biggest parenting pet peeve has been] my family and Nigerian friends making comments about my daughter’s hair. 'Oh, it’s tangled,' 'Oh, she’s getting dreadlocks.' My daughter has a head full of very beautiful curly hair, and she hates to have her hair touched — she cries. She’s so young, I just don’t think it’s worth it to have her go through the pain of combing her hair."
Instead of forcing her daughter to have her hair brushed constantly, Ngozi Adichie washes and conditions her daughter’s locks, then rubs them with natural oils. “She’s going to be old enough at some point to decide what she wants to do,” she said.
It sounds to us like this brilliant feminist woman is simply following her daughter’s cues, while also instilling a strong set of progressive, choice-based values. Suffice to say we feel much more prepared to parent in this at-times-toxic, upside-down world with Ngozi Adichie’s advice in hand!