Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions Book Summary By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions is a powerful and influential book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Originally written as a response to a close childhood friend, the book is a series of advice on how to raise young girls to become strong independent women.

It's not just about gender roles and feminist theories - it delves much deeper into what becoming an empowered woman means in today’s society.

Adiche not only offers her opinion on everyday practices, but also takes readers through steps for critically analysing the role of patriarchy in both public and private spheres.

By providing subtle explanations of difficult concepts such as privilege and oppression, she encourages readers to think more deeply about how they can make a difference in their own lives and further down the line with those around them.

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions Book

Book Name: Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions (Empower yourself, empower your daughter)

Author(s): Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Rating: 4.3/5

Reading Time: 26 Minutes

Categories: Society & Culture

Author Bio

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian author with an impressive literary track record.

She has written numerous award-winning books and stories, including Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and Americanah.

Adichie also became the recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant in 2008, further solidifying her as an important literary figure in the African region.

Her passion for gender equality is clear to see; she has given a TEDx talk titled “We Should All Be Feminists” which was then published into a standalone essay in 2014.

Adichie's latest work, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions further highlights the importance of gender equality and is definitely worth checking out!

The Importance Of Teaching Feminist Values: An Insight From Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Dear Ijeawele”

Ngozi Adichie's

Adichie’s book, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions is not only an inspiring read, but also gives key lessons on how to empower both yourself and your daughter.

Adichie talks about the importance of teaching girls to be self-reliant, confident and conscious of the world around them – something that should never be compromised.

In her book, she encourages everyone to understand the importance of re-educating themselves in order to pass on those same values to their daughters.

She explains why complete tolerance is a bad thing and how gender roles exist even when parents think they don’t; she even covers how nicknames used among close family members can sometimes be seen as a form of ownership rather than affection.

Ultimately, what Adichie is trying to say is that parenting as a father isn’t about “helping” the mother but learning to empower yourself so you can in turn empower your daughter too.

Understanding The Balance Between Work And Motherhood Can Be An Empowering Journey

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, offers an important reminder that all women should be a full person and not define themselves solely by their motherhood.

As Adichie points out, our children will follow our example.

If we only focus on motherhood, they will believe that too must define them.

But this doesn’t have to be the case – we can reject the idea that motherhood and work are mutually exclusive.

Women shouldn’t apologize for working and there is no shame in balancing work and family if it makes us happy.

Take Marlene Sanders as an example – she was the first woman to report on the Vietnam war while still raising her son.

If you don’t love your job, you can pursue something else which gives you a sense of joy or accomplishment.

Being a mother doesn’t mean you cannot also do other activities which bring meaning to your life such as hobbies or creative projects.

But taking care of yourself can often be difficult when looking after a child– especially in the early weeks.

One way to make things easier is through asking for support from friends, family or even online communities.

Remember that although preparing for parenthood may present numerous challenges like finding childcare options and budgeting for family expenses -you can defeat these difficulties with resilience and determination; ultimately you should never see yourself as someone who has to ‘do it all’.

Do what feels right for YOU!

No Biological Justification For Expecting Men And Women To Take On Different Roles In Parenthood

Having committed parents raising a daughter together is the best way to ensure that she can grow up without worrying about social norms and gender roles.

Too often, society encourages children, especially girls, to conform to rigid gender stereotypes.

But it’s important for both parents to reject this kind of thinking and instead focus on nurturing their daughter as an individual.

This means looking at parenting from an equal partner point of view, where both father and mother have an essential role in caring for their child and establishing strong positive family relationships.

That’s why the author of “Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions” suggests not using language like ‘helping’ or ‘Mr Mom’, which reinforces the idea that childcare is primarily the woman’s responsibility.

It also means debunking misguided beliefs about parentage based on biology- something which unfortunately occurs too commonly in our society today.

In reality, when two people become parents they each share a unique and irreplaceable role in their daughter’s life.

There’s no excuse for excusing certain behaviors based on gender- any more than there is excuse for diverging ideas about who has responsibility over a child after divorce or separation simply becausebiology dictates only one parent can provideenzyme necessary for digestion.

Parents have far more power than we think when it comes to teaching their children values regarding gender equality by setting examples with diverse responsibilities for father and mother alike – not one taking precedence over the other – and actively rejecting outdated gendered social norms.

Stop Limiting Children With Gender Roles: Encourage Individual Potential

Gender Roles

Gender roles are ridiculous and restrictive.

We must reject them, teaching our daughters to do the same.

Domestic skills, like cooking, cleaning or raising children, have no relation to one’s gender.

These are learned skills that anyone – male or female – can acquire.

By not placing limits on children based on their gender, we free them to achieve their full potential.

Color-coding of baby clothes is equally absurd.

The idea that pink or blue color has something to do with a child’s gender is not only outdated but places an unnecessary barrier between boys and girls at a young age, limiting their potential and learning opportunities when they start growing up.

The case presented by the author of Dear Ijeawele is telling: when a Nigerian woman refused her daughter from buying a remote-control helicopter purely because it wasn’t “girly” enough go shows how important it is for young girls not to be restricted by gender roles.

What might have happened if that girl was allowed to explore how things work? Would she become an engineer? We will never know – but it’s worth considering in light of what could have been done differently in order to break the boundaries imposed by gender roles and stereotypes.

Feminism Lite: A Hollow, Worthless Attempt At Pseudo-Empowerment For Women

Feminism Lite is, at its core, just a subtler expression of misogyny.

It presents female equality as conditional, allowing women to be powerful only if they disguise it “behind the scenes.” This is something powerful women have experienced for ages, judged and held to different standards than powerful men.

It also perpetuates sexism through language, like when a newspaper described Prime Minister Theresa May’s husband as “taking a back seat” to allow his wife to shine – something no newspaper would ever say if the gender roles were reversed.

And speaking of reversed roles, this type of language implies women are allowed to have power only when given permission from someone else.

The truth is that when partners in any relationship are equal there is no need for this word “allow” or phrases like it – because both individuals are seen as capable and competent in their own right.

The takeaway? Feminism Lite should have no place in anyone’s vocabulary – because beneath it lurks an unjustly patronizing attitude towards women that questions their ability to lead and succeed without someone else giving them permission first.

Teach Your Daughter To Challenge Assumptions And Unhelpful Sayings About Women

In her book “Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions,” author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie emphasizes the importance of questioning language.

This true also for raising children, who often learn by example and mimic the way adults speak.

Adichie recommends simple changes that can help a parent teach their daughter to question language and the assumptions it implies.

For example, rather than use terms such as “princess” which carries with it certain stereotypes about how a girl should behave, opt for more gender-neutral terms like “star” or “angel.”

By being mindful of old sayings and adapting them to be less sexist, you’re also teaching your child how to be critical of language.

The author mentions one example from Igbo culture where people scold girls with the phrase “Don’t you know that you are old enough to find a husband?” She then suggests changing the word “husband” to “job,” which emphasizes the importance of having an independent path in life.

The Power Imbalance Within Love And Marriage: Why Girls Need To Know They Deserve Equal Treatment

Love And Marriage

It is important to teach our daughters that love and marriage are not necessarily something they should aspire to as children.

Society often gives mixed signals when it comes to these topics, imposing expectations from an early age while often not imparting the same beliefs on boys.

The result can be an unequal balance of power within a marriage – with the woman often giving most of herself to make it work.

We must also consider the double standards that exist in society regarding names and proposals.

For example, when Hillary Rodham married Bill Clinton she chose to keep her last name; unfortunately, over time this became a political football and she made the decision to adopt her husband’s name – something we would rarely expect men to do even today.

And when it comes time for marriage proposals, women should not accept a situation where only one partner has the power to initiate change until both are completely ready for a life-altering event such as matrimony.

Finally, no girl should have any shame in taking love just as much as she gives it; teaching girls that they can receive love as well will empower them rather than help bind them in submission.

Through awareness of societal expectations and carefully guided conversations with our daughters, we can begin to level the playing field by explicating that love and marriage are not goals unto themselves but valuable parts of personal growth movements wholeheartedly supported by feminists everywhere.

Teach Your Daughter To Be Honest, Courageous And Proud Of Her Identity

When it comes to raising your daughter, one of the most important things you can do is help her develop a sense of self and her own identity.

This means letting her know that it’s fine to express herself honestly and courageously, whether that means saying no when someone takes her toy or embracing elements of her culture and rejecting others.

It can also be helpful to expose your daughter to images of African and Black beauty, achievement, and history – something she won’t necessarily learn in school.

This will give your daughter not only an understanding of her own place in society but a sense of pride in her heritage as well.

And don’t forget those symbolic names!

An Igbo nickname or name from any other culture she belongs to is your daughter a great way for her to connect with the community she belongs to.

The fact remains: as long as there’s a double standard for boys and girls, where boys are encouraged to be tough but girls are pressured into being “nice” or quiet – telling them stories which encourage them to reach out for their dreams would empower them more than anything else.

You can support your daughter by helping build up the confidence within so that she is able to stand up for herself without fear against anyone who thinks they should take away anything from her without permission.

Raising A Feminist Daughter Means Rejecting Misogynistic Double Standards Around Femininity And Beauty

When raising a feminist daughter, it’s important to be mindful of how you engage with her appearance.

You should never force her into any sort of fashion choice whether that be wearing makeup or “tomboy” clothes.

Nor should you impose your own sense of beauty on her—allowing her to dress as she chooses is just as much empowerment as pursuing traditionally feminine interests.

It’s also essential to not pass any judgement based on what she decides to wear; don’t connect morality to clothing choices and avoid making assumptions about the kind of person she is just because of an outfit choice.

What we should all strive for is equality – men are free to express their style through their clothing choices, and so should women.

To combat oppressive societal views, introduce your daughter to different kinds of beauty as well as strong female role models that challenge traditional gender roles who can serve as great examples for her growth.

Surrounding your daughter with these examples will help send a message that she can embrace her ability to be whoever she wants without fear of judgement.

Engagement with a girl’s appearance should always be deliberate and kept respectful in order for the values of feminism and femininity to live together in harmony

Teaching Your Daughter About Sex: The Right Language And A Absence Of Shame

Teaching Your Daughter About Sex

When it comes to talking about sex, it’s important that girls have the tools and understanding they need from an early age.

Parents play an important role in providing their daughters with reliable information about sex and love before they go out into the world and encounter any ludicrous ideas.

This means discussing more than just physical consequences such as infections and pregnancy.

It’s also important to talk about how beautiful and emotionally rewarding sex can be, but in terms free of shame or moral judgement.

You don’t want her feeling like something is wrong with her if she chooses to wait until she is an adult to engage in sexual activity – rather, let her know that you respect her decision either way.

When it comes to language, suitable words should be used when talking with your daughter – like vagina rather than “lady parts” or penis instead of “doodle.” Most importantly, periods should never be discussed in a way that associates them with shame because there is nothing abnormal or unnatural about them!

Teach Your Daughter To Accept Difference And Respect Oppression Without Illusions

Raising a feminist daughter is a challenging, yet rewarding process.

It’s important to teach her that difference is the norm without idealizing the oppressed.

As she grows up in this world of difference, you should make her aware that it’s neither good nor bad, but simply diverse and something to accept.

It’ll be essential for your daughter to recognize that there will be much in life she doesn’t know—especially when it comes to recognizing oppression.

There’s a fine line between teaching her about oppression without glamorizing it, and with understanding acceptance means respecting differences even when we don’t agree with them or understand them well.

It’s also critical not to demonize those who don’t subscribe to feminism; instead focus on how insidious patriarchy is.

The same kinds of pattern repeats itself in many areas of life; even unkind and dishonest people are entitled to dignity and equality just like anyone else.

Women are just as capable as men of good or bad behavior—and this should be made clear as part of teaching your daughter how to navigate the world around her.

Wrap Up

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions is a must-read for all parents looking to create an equal and empowering environment for their daughters.

It provides specific advice on how to push back against the entrenched gender inequalities in society by focusing on the individual values of each parent.

At its heart, the book emphasizes how advocating for gender equality starts at home.

By separating money and gender, teaching financial independence, being honest about sex and relationships and protecting a daughter’s right to make her own decisions, parents can create an environment that equips girls to be as strong as they are meant to be.

For those who want to know even more, Dear Ijeawele provides a great starting point from which readers can explore topics further with Adichie’s own prequel We Should All Be Feminists (2014).

In this book, Adichie expands on her TEDx talk by exploring philosophy and personal anecdotes that explain why everyone should embrace feminism so together we can all work towards achieving equality.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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