Review: Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

After having seen the scene below shared online, which was taken from this powerful short film, I immediately wanted to absorb myself in some much needed feminist literature. At which point I recalled the existence of Dear Ijeawele, which I’d gratefully received as an ARC.

*Trigger warning: rape. *

In We Should All be Feminists, her eloquently argued and much admired essay of 2014, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie proposed that if we want a fairer world we need to raise our sons and daughters differently. Here, in this remarkable new book, Adichie replies by letter to a friend’s request for help on how to bring up her newborn baby girl as a feminist. With its fifteen pieces of practical advice it goes right to the heart of sexual politics in the twenty-first century.

Discussing feminism, love, bodies, gender roles, marriage, rejecting likability, racism, sexism, white-privilege, privilege and inequality, body-image insecurities, female sexuality, periods, oppression, and so much more. “Where has this been all my life” was how I felt when I finished. A truly revolutionary book with a handful of innovative quotes that I’d liked to share next:

“Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not ‘if only’. Not ‘as long as’. I matter equally. Full stop.”

“But here is a sad truth: our world is full of men and women who do not like powerful women. We have been so conditioned to think of power as male that a powerful woman is an aberration.”

“Teach her that if you criticize X in women but do not criticize X in men, then you do not have a problem with X, you have a problem with women.”

The above completely changed the way I perceive things. tumblr_omie8yumti1u4ypbyo7_4001

“Tell her that her body belongs to her and her alone, that she should never feel the need to say yes to something she does not want, or something she feels pressured to do. Teach her that saying no when no feels right is something to be proud of.”

All of the above feels both so personally and universally relevant. And after having completed Dear Ijeawele in one sitting, I have one last thing to say: MY HEART IS SO FULL AND GRATEFUL THAT THIS EXISTS.

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: March 7th, 2017

5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Dear Ijeawele, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: Why I March by Abrams Books

I truly couldn’t have been more happier when I gracefully received my physical ARC of Why I March. In fact, I was so over the moon that my mom took notice and became curious when I showed her the beautiful book:Why I March 1-- bookspoils(I even painted my nails to match that gorgeous cover.)

We ended up browsing this powerful accumulation of photographs together, which made it that more precious for me. I’ll just never get tired of reading powerful collections about feminism and supporting immensely important causes (see: Why We March & Nasty Women).

On January 21, 2017, five million people in 82 countries and on all seven continents stood up with one voice. The Women’s March began with one cause, women’s rights, but quickly became a movement around the many issues that were hotly debated during the 2016 U.S. presidential race–immigration, health care, environmental protections, LGBTQ rights, racial justice, freedom of religion, and workers’ rights, among others.

Featuring images of people in snow gear in Antarctica; women holding “Love Trumps Hate” signs in Durban, South Africa; and little girls in the street of New York City; Why I March is organised by continent and showcases the recurring themes of inclusion and intersectionality that the March so embedded.

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite pieces:

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Why I March 11-- bookspoils

 

Why I March 12-- bookspoilsMy favorite, Uzo Aduba!!!

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I think it goes without saying that I’ll cherish this book for a long time to come. And also, let’s be real, show it to anyone who’s in my near proximity. My love runs so deep that I wasn’t even mad when I received a painful paper cut from flipping a certain page wrongly…

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication:  February 21st, 2017

5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Why I March, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: Nasty Women by 404 Ink

“No one can do this alone and now more than ever we need each other.”

With intolerance and inequality increasingly normalised by the day, it’s more important than ever for women to share their experiences. We must hold the truth to account in the midst of sensationalism and international political turmoil. Nasty Women is a collection of essays, interviews and accounts on what it is to be a woman in the 21st century.

I’ve shared my immense excitement for this riveting collection before in my original Skam book tag, so I was beyond ecstatic to finally complete my journey. Full of inclusive, educational and politically relevant essays, this collection breaks all barriers. AND I LOVED IT.

Also, I’m beyond grateful that the triggering essays had warnings at the start. So I did end up skimming or outright skipping some pieces because my heart can’t handle certain topics. But, again, I’m immensely thankful for the mentions of trigger warnings at the start of certain essays.

Plus, I learned so much in the span of just 240 pages, and my mind is still reeling. Touching upon topics such as:

  • institutional sexism in the medical profession, along with contraception and women’s health.
  • the year 2016. It was… tough, socially and politically.
  • immigration. And the likes of certain people in their white, middle class bubble still believing that “Difference is bad. Difference is dangerous.”
  • female icons.
  • raising awareness of LGBTQIA+ rights.
  • racism, sexism and microaggressions being uttered in the same breath.
  • disability, faith, pregnancy, grief, underrepresented bodies, and so much more are also respectively addressed.
  • the reclamation of the phrase ‘nasty woman’ ‘a pretty glorious thing’.

There are also so many game-changing and mesmerizing quotes in here, I feel compelled to share them all in this review, instead of going out to shout it from the rooftops… It seems to be the wiser and more practical option, somehow.

“As a black woman in the Dirty South, can someone please explain to me how America was great, when it was great, and when it stopped being great?
I make ~70% of the salary of white male counterparts in my industry and specialty. Statistics show that I am significantly less likely to be married in my lifetime than any white female.The establishment of whiteness as normal and the impact of slavery negatively affects black women disproportionately to every other ethnic group in almost every aspect of American life. I’ve spent my entire adult life seeking the Greatness of America, but I’ve yet to find it. Can I find this Greatness with Google Maps?”

“You’re expected to feel grateful towards a country that has given you a better life than you would have had otherwise, but the idea of feeling grateful towards Britain makes me feel as if we’re in a host country, rather than our own.We have to give back more than those who aren’t a product of immigration.We have to earn our place here.We have to never give anyone a chance to say that we shouldn’t be here.”

“Success to me is no longer ‘passing’, but standing out. Making a measured difference. Changing attitudes, opinions, through being visible and asking questions that challenge oppression. Carving out a new space through the process of not accepting less than inclusion.”

“That being good means different things to different people and it’s impossible to please everyone.That pleasing everyone should never be anyone’s goal.That being good was not making me happy, in fact it was making me lose myself. A good woman is not necessarily a happy woman.And I choose happiness above all. Freedom.”

“‘Not everything is about race.’
‘Not everything is sexist.’
Perhaps not. But enough of it is for it to be an on-going problem that we simply cannot sweep under the carpet anymore. Being dark and female has made me hyperaware of nonsense, insults and abuse targeted at me and if I want change, I have to fight for it and write about it. Women like me are on the receiving end of both bigotries, so big congratulations for proudly proclaiming that you ‘don’t see race’ and that ‘men and women are completely equal in this day and age’. It’s great that you are privileged enough to never have to deal with both issues, so you can just speak it out of existence and deny misogynoir.”

“We need allies. We need support, we need you to acknowledge your white privilege and we need to be believed when we open up about the shit we’ve had to deal with our whole lives.
If all those things are too hard for you to accept and put into
practice, then you are not an intersectional feminist, wanting equality for all women, regardless of race, sexual orientation, class, etc., and if you are not an intersectional feminist then you are not a feminist at all. Remove your badge and hang it up for someone else to use because the battle for equality will only ever be but only half won.”

“The world is a dangerous place right now, but not as dangerous as a nasty woman with a pen in her hand and story to tell. These voices telling our truths cannot be shaken and they certainly will not be drowned out any more.
Why fear us when you can join us?”

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: March 8th, 2017

5/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Nasty Women, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!