Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chiminanda Ngozi Adichie is a short book full of smart ideas. I easily read it in under an hour. Adichie, author of both novels and other nonfiction about feminism, was asked by a friend how to raise a feminist daughter. This is her response.
The suggestions are solid ideas about raising children and being a parent, as well as pointing out how boys are raised differently than girls. I’m not sure that any of them are groundbreaking. But as a long-time feminist, I think each suggestion is important and well-expressed.
I especially appreciated Adichie’s writing about Feminism Lite, or the idea of conditional female equality. The idea that women are equal only because men benevolently grant us that position is as corrosive as misogyny. It’s a wolf hidden in sheep’s clothing. Adichie isn’t afraid to call Feminism Lite out, and gives great examples.
While reading I found myself thinking about buying copies for a few people who are parenting girls, especially my granddaughters. If I bought this book for someone whose child was older than an infant, would they find it helpful? Or would they just think I was pointing out their failings? I know for sure I’d buy this book for my 15-year-old granddaughter. She’s well on her way to being a strong, independent thinking young woman. But a little reminder here and there feels like a grandmother’s role, right?
Dear Ijeawele is exactly what it’s titled – a manifesto. I heartily recommend it.