So good! Quick read.
When a couple of years ago a friend of mine from childhood, who'd grown into a brilliant, strong, kind woman, asked me to tell her how to raise her baby girl a feminist, my first thought was that I did not know. It felt like too huge a task.
A friend wrote to Chimamanda Adichie requesting advice on how to raise her daughter as a feminist. A version of Adichie's response eventually turned into a book: Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. The book is full of powerful, concise, and accessible advice. Perhaps this is what I appreciate most about Adichie's version of feminism: it is approachable. There is nothing pretentious or highfalutin in these suggestions. I'm just going to cover four of Adichie's suggestions in this review (these are my favorite suggestions).
1. "Be a full person. Do not define yourself solely by motherhood. Your child will benefit from that." Men of working moms are significantly more likely than men of stay at home moms (SAHMs) to marry a partner who works full time. Over their childhoods, these men also spent twice as much time helping with household chores than men of SAHMs. Daughters of working moms make roughly 25% more over their careers than the daughters of SAHMs. Despite buckets of research demonstrating these benefits, 1/3 of Americans are steadfast in the belief that mothers should not work outside the home.
2. "'Because you are a girl' is never a reason for anything. Ever." If you want your daughter to help with the dishes, explain that it's important for everyone to have a role in cleaning the kitchen. Ask her to help cook dinner because it is important for everyone to help nourish the family. But. Never. Ever. tell her to do these things because she is a girl. As Adichie reminds us, "The knowledge of cooking does not come pre-installed in a vagina."
3. "Teach her that to love is not only to give but also to take. This is important because we give girls subtle cues about their lives-- we teach them that a large component of their ability to love is their ability to sacrifice their selves. We do not teach this to boys." Yeah. This is the hardest one to tackle. You'd think it's common sense. It's not. Teach girls that romantic love is not just about giving and caring, but also about taking and being cared for.
4. "Never speak of marriage as an achievement. Find ways to make clear to her that marriage is not an achievement, nor is it what she should aspire to. A marriage can be happy or unhappy, but it is not an achievement." Some women choose to get married. Other's don't. There should be no moral value attached to either choice. It's like getting a driver's license: some people do and some people don't.
Alright, that's all I've got for today. I'll be back in a few days, from New York!