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We Should All Be Feminists – Adichie

“What matters even more is our attitude, our mindset.

What if, in raising children, we focus on ability instead of gender? What if we focus on interest instead of gender?”

The Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adichie’s following question compels the reader to think about the potential and success of children outside of the cages of gender. It is a universal custom for boys to be presented with privileges and benefits of doubts their entire lives, whereas girls are usually seen as a liability in most cases.  Letting society continue favoring one gender over another without much regards to individual intelligence is a formula for regression and failure. To an extent, it is a path paved towards abuse and self-hate. Adichie offers a personal example of when she wasn’t allowed to be the class monitor even though she had the highest score amongst the students. Her teacher assumed that a boy would get the highest score because he is a boy and is considered superior to a girl. This example illustrates how the Nigerian society discriminates the young children by their gender identity and discourages girls from utilizing their own potential.

Adichie also makes a point of how society has become desensitized to the unfair treatment and expectations of women; examples being that men earn more than women, or men holding powerful positions such as CEO or President while women achieving such success as a rare occurrence.

In addition to custom-created educational barriers, and professional barriers, women also face constriction in sociable etiquettes. A woman can’t be too loud, it’s not lady-like. A woman can’t be too aggressive, men don’t like a woman to be in charge so she should take the back seat and let the man be in control. A woman shouldn’t convey her anger, she might be seen as hormonal and hysterical. A woman should simply just take; take what the world allows her and be grateful for it. Be soft because its feminine and men are attracted to femininity. Act sweet and gentle so a man may want to marry her. After all, an unmarried, non-procreating woman is a waste of a uterus. Men are taught that as men, it is their responsibility to earn money and pay all bills because society’s standards of masculinity is in a man’s ability to earn, provide and protect. A woman wanting to do those things for her family is seen as overstepping her feminine boundaries. Focusing on domestic work should always be a priority no matter what her professional ranking is.

The writer encourages the readers to change the gender inequality that has become a social norm and raise the next generation differently where the children would be treated equally, would receive the same opportunity to follow their dreams regardless their gender which is nothing more than biology.

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