Dear Ijeawele: A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by C. N. Adichie

Two books in a row that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Again, one of the best I’ve read this year. The introduction to Dear Ijeawele: A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by C. N. Adichie says:

 ‘a friend of mine from childhood […] asked me to tell her how to raise her baby girl a feminist […] In response to my friend’s request, I decided to write her a letter, which I hoped would be honest and practical’

Her opening statement highlights her beautifully explained suggestions regarding feminism. These suggestions can be applied to everyone, not just the daughter of her friend. A lot of criticism targetted towards this book has been stuff like “where’s the stuff about how to raise a son as a feminist” when in reality, these sorts of statements have come from people who are completely missing the point of this book. As she states:

‘the idea of ‘gender roles’ is absolute nonsense’ (Third Suggestion)

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The topics covered in Dear Ijeawele are much more niche and interesting than We Should All Be Feminists. Despite that, I am not saying that WSABF is a bad book. It’s just that, I myself prefer the detail and topics she covered.

For example, her discussion of gender roles in the third suggestion is extremely relatable for someone who has been told ever since I can remember, that “That’s not very lady-like” – god I hate that – and “because you’re a girl you should do [insert gender role]” or “because you’re a girl you should like [insert gender exepctations]”, and “girls shouldn’t/can’t do [insert activity]”. She humorously summarises this perfectly:

‘The knowledge of cooking does not come pre-installed in a vagina’. (Third Suggestion).

Not only is her book entertaining, but it also has some great life tips and suggestions that can be applied to other situations than the ones she suggests. For example:

‘If you criticize X in women but do not criticize X in men, then you do not have a problem with X, you have a problem with women.’ (Sixth Suggestion).

I can’t recommend this read enough, everyone and I mean EVERYONE should read this. A solid, proud 4/5 stars.

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