Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
” …It’s not enough to say you want to raise a daughter who can tell you anything; you have to give her the language to talk to you…”
Chimamanda is known for her nonpareil and distinctive literature- literature that articulates the very themes and issues that many choose to sidestep or simply brush under the carpet. Her views on feminism have created quite a stir and her words have a voice, which resounds across cultures, questioning the norms that seem to be written in stone.
The most explosive packages are usually the small ones. And with Dear Ijeawele, which is just sixty one pages long , Chimamanda shakes up the very core of Feminism and how it is perceived by countless millions.
When her friend asked her for advice on how to raise her newborn daughter a feminist, Chimamanda was lost for words. Then, as she sat down to write, honest words flowed, joining together to form a deft and soulful piece of writing.
Reviving the forgotten art of letter writing, Chimamanda brings forth Dear Ijeawele, A Feminine Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. Addressed to her friend Ijeawele, this reflective piece of non-fiction, highlights the vortex most women find themselves stuck in- how much of themselves do they need to give in a relationship, how much burden and responsibility can they shoulder, how to feel equal, without feeling guilty and most importantly, how to raise girls.
Not everyone understands the true essence of feminism and most find themselves caught up in Feminism Lite- an idea of conditional female equality. According to her, a woman’s well-being should not be subjective of male benevolence.
“…Allow is a troubling word…A husband is not a headmaster. A wife is not a schoolgirl. Permission and being allowed, when used one-sidedly- and they are nearly only used that way- should never be the language of an equal marriage…”
The theme of this book transcends all cultures and is bound to resonate with men and women all over the world. While on the surface this book may seem like a guide book on how to raise daughters, deep down, it aims at questioning our choices and how we live- as an individual, as a family and as a society.
On a personal note, I found myself pondering over the ideas, analyzing them and introspecting: as a daughter, a wife, a mother of two boys and most importantly, as an individual.
Powerful and candid, Dear Ijeawele is a definite read for all!