Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie delivered a Ted Talk on why everyone should be feminists. During this talk, Adichie describes how society has done a great disservice to men and women in the way gender and gender roles are taught. Adichie uses personal stories such as how ee friend had called her a feminist but meant it as an insult. Being the strong woman she is, Adichie took this title in her stride and defined what feminism meant to her. This journey to figuring out what feminism means and how it affects her turned into her realizing that many were not receiving the proper attention in terms of how to respect women and gender in general.
Adichie grew up in Nigeria and many of the gender roles she was surrounded by were defined by an extremely patriarchal society. This society made it harder for Adichie to make the people who surrounded her understand the blatant differences in how a woman and a man were treated. It took a long time for many of her friends to understand. Her friends felt as though she was overreacting or did not fully grasp the situation. One of her close friends only noticed this when Adichie tipped someone and the man thanked him instead of Adichie. This little action showed how it was taken for granted that the money was his and not Adichie’s. This is the problem, these small actions are taken for granted and no one does anything to change or correct them.
Adichie states that the education system also favors men and that this causes men to be afraid of vulnerability and for women to shrink themselves next to their male counterparts. Women and men are both equally capable of reaching the same success and being in positions of power. Schools need to start being more mindful in terms of how they treat girls and boys given that it is easy for them to be influenced at these stages of learning. Societies need to stop using excuses as to why a girl cannot do something and rather, start showing girls that they can achieve whatever they want. For a society to thrive, there needs to be an equality; this way everyone feels comfortable sharing their views and pursuing their goals. A girl should never feel the need to be dependent on a man, and by showing girls strong examples from a young age, women will feel more comfortable in pursuing their ambitions instead of ignoring them.
Adichie has defined feminism for herself, and has removed the negative connotation it once was surrounded with, away from her. The problem is that many still have a hard time deciding whether or they are comfortable with feminism. Like many other movements, there are people who impose extremist views, and this is one of the main reasons that one may shy away from calling themselves a feminist. Feminism is not about making women more powerful and ruling men; it is about being able to be seen equally in society. The term feminist should not be seen as an insult or a negative term. It should be seen as a term with power that radiates positivity. That is what Adichie is advocating for: that feminism can be adopted in a way that suits the person. It should not be imposed. That is truly powerful. Advocating for a cause close to your heart in a way that you feel comfortable with!