I am all about empowerment, and I'm all for equality. So when i stumbled upon Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche in the summer of 2013, I did more research into Feminism and what it really meant. Despite popular opinion, feminism is not a cult of women seeking vengeance against men and wanting to dominate them, however it is an ideal to strive for. It is the belief that both men and women can live in an equal society, free from demands ascribed to them based on gender. Feminism also preaches that we have no set expectations from males and females based on gender. Feminism does not say that one gender is more valued, but it preaches that both have just as much potential. In today's society, where survival is not based on physical advantage but on intellect, their is no need to preach of a superior gender. I now personally self identify as a Feminist because i believe in equality. I don't hate men, frankly i get along with them very well, i just believe that there should be a balance. I don't preach down on persons who disapprove of feminism, nor do i lean towards shrouding myself in masculinity to feel empowered. I wear lipstick, i like braids, i love fashion [as you can see], i read stereotypical romance novels, things that are deemed by society as decidedly non-feminist. Here is an excerpt from Chimamanda's speech which inspired my feminist stance . . .
On How Gender Roles Hurt Boys
"We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them. We stifle the humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage.
We teach boys to be afraid of fear, of weakness, of vulnerability. We teach them to mask their true selves, because they have to be, in Nigerian-speak—a hard man.
In secondary school, a boy and a girl go out, both of them teenagers with meager pocket money. Yet the boy is expected to pay the bills, always, to prove his masculinity. (And we wonder why boys are more likely to steal money from their parents.)
What if both boys and girls were raised not to link masculinity and money? What if their attitude was not "the boy has to pay," but rather, "whoever has more should pay." Of course, because of their historical advantage, it is mostly men who will have more today. But if we start raising children differently, then in fifty years, in a hundred years, boys will no longer have the pressure of proving their masculinity by material means.
But by far the worst thing we do to males—by making them feel they have to be hard—is that we leave them with very fragile egos. The harder a man feels compelled to be, the weaker his ego is.
And then we do a much greater disservice to girls, because we raise them to cater to the fragile egos of males.
We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller.
We say to girls: You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man. If you are the breadwinner in your relationship with a man, pretend that you are not, especially in public, otherwise you will emasculate him."
This is an excerpt from WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Copyright © 2012, 2014 by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.