We Should All Be Feminist by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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I brought We Should All Be Feminist by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on my dream trip to Ghana and Senegal with the intent of reading it during some quiet moments in my hotel room;  I read it in about 20 minutes on the airplane to Ghana.  The book is fantastic in it's ability to perfectly capture the vital issue of Feminism in just 42 pages.

Through her own experience growing up in Nigeria, she writes about the stigma associated with the word, feminist and how many assume that women who are feminist hate men, are unhappy or can't find a husband.  She writes passionatley about earning the right to be child monitor in her classroom when she was 9 years old but the task was given to a boy.  This was one of the most important stories in the book because it shows the life-long effect that discrimination can have on a young child.  If you are made to feel "less than" at an early age, it travels with you throughout your life. 

The person more qualified to lead is not the physically stronger person. It is the more intelligent, the more knowledgeable, the more creative, more innovative. And there are no hormones for those attributes.
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We Should All Be Feminist also delves into the impact of gender roles on the humanity of boys. By defining masculinity so narrowly, we stifle their humanity. There is little room for them to feel fear or be vulnerable.  They grow up with very fragile egos and then women are taught to shrink themselves to cater to the egos of men.  The best gift that we can give to our boys is to allow them to be free to be human; free to be both strong and vulnerable - to experience the range of human emotions without fear of it's effect on their masculinity.  If our society does not support this basic right, then we must change our society.

My teenage son, Gian, read We Should All Be Feminist, and now understands why gender equality is important.  It should be required reading for all of us because we SHOULD all be feminist.  It is vital to our humanity.

Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie