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Chimamanda Adichie Has A Few Words For Those Of You Who Think Feminism Is “Un-African”

Writer Chimamanda Adichie is not one to shy away from controversial topics, especially those surrounding Feminism and Sexism. In a recent interview with Hope Reese for JSTOR digital library Adichie talked about feminism in Nigeria, racism and sexism.

Excerpts

On Feminism In Nigeria And Whether It Is ‘un-african’

People say that because they want to find a way to discredit feminism. And also because Western feminism is the most documented, the most known-about, that it’s seen as, essentially, the only feminism.I didn’t become a feminist because I read anything Western or African. I became a feminist because I was born in Nigeria and I observed the world. And it was clear to me, very early on, that women and men were not treated the same way; that women were treated unfairly, just because they were women.So I always felt this way. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t passionate about just this feeling of injustice…now today in Nigeria there are many feminists. I mean, in Nigeria, as all countries of the world, you only have to look at the history of a country or the people and inevitably, you will learn about when they can push back. There’s nowhere in the world where there’s gender equality. But I think that everywhere in the world there’s been women who have pushed back, right? They’re always in the minority, obviously, but they’re there and they’re feminists. But today in Nigeria, young women are self-identifying as feminists and some young men as well, I have to say. The conversation is being had. 

On The Exclusion Of Black Women In Feminism In America

I think it was a white thing for many years. I think, in the history of American feminism is one of racism as well. Because there were many white women who were feminists who didn’t want to include black women. Who didn’t want to acknowledge that black women had certain specific experiences that were different. Especially in regards to things like work. Right? Feminism meant, “we need to go out and work,” for white women. But black women had been required to work––in fact, we’re overworked. So I understand why African American women often feel excluded from American feminism. I think it’s changing a bit. But I also think that the answer is to widen the number of voices on the stage, so to speak. That we have different kinds of women who can talk about the differences in their experiences. It’s changing, but I don’t feel that western feminism is my own story. So, as an observer, I think that it’s certainly changed a bit from its racist past, but I think there’s a lot more that could be done. But what’s even more important is to hear more people’s voices and more people’s stories.

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