You know that moment when you finish a book so extraordinary that you’re just…dumbfounded? This is me after reading Dear Ijeawele for the second time.
This manifesto was born after Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s friend asked her guidance on raising a girl. In my opinion, reviewing it like any other book won’t do justice. I, much rather, explain (in detail) why it is fundamental for people across age groups to read it.
Through fifteen suggestions, Adichie writes with urgency the need to uproot gender bias from its very core. She calls out the habit of lauding fathers for doing the ‘fatherly duties’ while taking for granted the efforts that a mother invests.
When Adichie describes a woman’s guilt working post-pregnancy, the feeling hit home. My mother, too, was plagued by the same emotions each day as she sent me to daycare. It is heartwarming to see Adichie say, ‘Never apologize for working. You love what you do, and loving what you do is a great gift to give your child’.
She fixates on not limiting a girl’s choices because of her gender. Like, when she distinctively says, ‘Because you are a girl’ is never a reason for anything. Ever.
Through facts and life-experiences, she shuts down ‘Feminism Lite’ which means using feminism to your benefit and judging other women harshly for doing the same thing that a man is allowed to do.
She talks about the shame that is oftentimes linked to the female sex. Like, the shame of not being a virgin or the shame of menstruating.
Finally, Adichie gives us hope by stating how these ingrained problems can be revolutionised with reading, informed opinion and open-mind.
Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not “if only.” Not “as long as.” I matter equally. Full stop.