Largely this under-50-page book is about societal (world-wide) misconceptions about what feminism is and who it benefits – perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that at one point in her life the author referred to herself as 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.” And the rest of the book is sort of her explanation of how none of those qualifiers should have ever been necessary because the basic tenet of feminism is that men and women are equal and should be treated as such. It’s the most radical, okay? But then people project their own beliefs (or, who knows, the beliefs of that one super angry person they met one time) onto feminism and then everyone’s fairly certain that to be feminist women have to hate men, want to dress like men, all be lesbians, practice witchcraft, etc.
“Some people ask, ‘Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?’ Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general – but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. […] For centuries the world divided human beings into two groups and then proceeded to exclude and oppress one group. It is only fair that the solution to the problem should acknowledge that.”
This book is, as previously mentioned, super short and full of Adichie’s personal life experiences that led to her understanding of feminism. But also to a really friggin’ excellent explanation of how feminism benefits everyone:
Patriarchy doesn’t only hurt women – it also hurts men by super narrowly defining masculinity and requiring that men in patriarchal societies ONLY EVER display masculine traits AT ALL TIMES. Which is an impossibly small box to live inside.
“The problem with gender is that prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.”
So, everyone please read or watch this. Either way it’ll only take like half an hour.