REVIEW #41 | “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichi

Title: “We Should All Be Feminists”

Author: Chimimanda Ngozi Adichi

Length of Audiobook: 51 minutes

Narrator: Chimimanda Ngozi Adichi

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

“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.”

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • cisnormativity
  • cissexism
  • heteronormativity
  • biological essentialism

Representation in the novel:

  • A Black woman is the author

2/5 stars

This was an impulse read: I saw it on the “Available Now” tab in OverDrive and thought, “Why not?” It was less than an hour, and the weather was crappy one day, and I have been meaning to read Adichi’s work for a while.

Well, everyone, the verdict is in, and uh. I wished I never read it.

If you want an extremely basic (and I really do mean basic) run-down of what feminism, misogyny, and sexism are, it would probably do the trick. Adichi goes into how men and women are treated differently, even from birth, and how it is not right. Good, right? I guess. You see, the only thing that is touched on is gender. Nothing else. That is an issue because feminism encompasses so much more than just gender. There is race, disability, class, religion, sexuality, and more. Obviously, not everyone can focus on absolutely everything, and they should not be expected to. That is burn out waiting to happen. But I would expect more in-depth analysis than simply, “men are treated better than women in society,” especially when this is an essay essentially persuading people to become/call themselves feminists. But yeah, not only is it extremely basic and does not recognize different experiences, but I already know that. What else?

On top of that, even the current analysis is not all that…good, I suppose. It uses cissexist and cisnormative language, talking about women being the only people to have children or become pregnant. It was also heteronormative: queer identities were not even mentioned. Non-binary people? Forget about them, I guess. On top of that, we have our friend, biological essentialism. I already touched on how women were said to be the only people capable of pregnancy, of course. But Adichi also touches on how men and women are inherently different and how that is “okay,” and that women still deserve to be treated better. Which…no. That is not true. Obviously, women should be treated better than they are currently, but men and women are not that different. And they do not inherently gain skills based on gender (and vice versa). That is just not how it works. From what I remember, Adichi brings this up. Multiple times.

I just did not like this essay. It was basic in its analysis, and the cissexism, cisnormativity, and lack of analysis regarding other identities just set me away from this. Do not recommend.

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4 thoughts on “REVIEW #41 | “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichi

    1. Yeah, I mean, like I said, it’s good for a really super basic intro to feminism, but if one is into feminist theory/feminism in general, they definitely shouldn’t stop with this one, imo, lol.


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