Happy start-of-the-week, bloggers! Standalone Sunday is a feature created by Megan @ Bookslayer Reads where every Sunday the goal is to feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend! There’s tons of focus on books that are part of a series, so take some time to promote a standalone that you read & loved.
My book for this week:
Title: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Release date: July 29th, 2014
Genre: Nonfiction – Essays
What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay—adapted from her much-viewed TEDx talk of the same name—by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of Americanah and Half of a Yellow Sun.
With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences—in the U.S., in her native Nigeria, and abroad—offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike.
Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a bestselling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today—and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.
I’m trying to feature as many books by Black authors as possible for Black History Month, and Chimamanda is one of my longtime favorite authors, so it’s no wonder she’s my first feature for this month. I originally listened to her TEDx Talk for my public speaking class in senior year of high school, and her words struck a chord with me, especially as someone who didn’t understand feminism very well at the time.
One quote in particular changed my entire view on feminism, as somebody who insisted on calling myself an “equal opportunist” instead: “Some people ask: “Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?” Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.” I remember hearing that and feeling like someone dumped a bucket of cold water on me. Reading it again recently gave me the same goosebumps that precede a swelling of hot anger and drive to do more. I really do think that this is a book that everyone should read. In less than 50 pages, or 30 minutes if you watch the Ted Talk, Chimamanda explains feminism in a way anyone could understand. She also breathes life into it and in doing so, pulls the rug out from under those folks who say “all feminists hate men” or “feminists are sexist” and gives them a healthy dose of education and self-awareness instead. If you haven’t picked this up yet, I wholeheartedly recommend it. We should all be feminists, and there’s nothing wrong with saying so.
If you liked Chimamanda’s Ted Talk (link in the first paragraph!) check out these other Ted Talks that changed my perspective on topics related to equality in multiple areas.
- A Teen Just Trying to Figure It Out – Tavi Gevinson
- For These Women, Reading is a Daring Act – Laura Boushnak
- Fifty Shades of Gay – iO Tillett Wright
- The Danger of a Single Story – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
What did you think of this book? Recommend some Ted Talks in the comments below!