A short book review of We Should All Be Feminists focused on existentialism, feminism and psychotherapy.
Read for: Feminism, and being a better human overall.
I have a confession: as I was listening to the audiobook of We Should All Be Feminists, I could not help but sing along to Flawless in my head. Even worse: I did not know that what I heard in Flawless by Beyoncé (do I have to even specify that?!) were in fact excerpts from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling book.
It’s short and sweet, straight to the point and thought-provoking. One of the best books I have read in a while and I feel disappointed in myself that it’s taken me so long to come around to reading this.
We Should All Be Feminists is a MUST for everyone who wishes to be a feminist out there. You might be a seasoned bra-burner or a ‘I have a T-Shirt that says I’m a feminist’ newbie, but I believe that this book will be a source of inspiration for both. I am definitely still learning and I connected immensely to Adichie’s style, reflections and teachings.
Adichie is not afraid to write about her personal experience and out herself as a “happy African feminist who does not hate men and who likes lip gloss and who wears high-heels for herself but not for men” – I appreciate someone who does not fit the label, which I believe at this point is: feminist, a woman who hates men, is unhappy, has leg hair, poor hygiene and wears male clothing (nota bene: I do NOT believe this to be the truth. Feminists come in all sizes, shapes and forms).
‘We must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently. We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them. We stifle the humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity is a hard small cage and we put boys inside this cage. We teach boys to be afraid of fear, of weakness, of vulnerability. We teach them to mask their true self’
‘And then we do a much greater disservice to girls because we raise them to cater to the fragile egos of males. We teach girls to shrink themselves to make themselves smaller. We say to girls you can have ambition but not too much. You should aim to be successful but not too successful otherwise you will threaten the man.’
‘I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my Femininity and I want to be respected in all my femaleness because I deserve to be.’
What do you think?
Existentialist and Psychotherapy Rating
Not being a book informed by either psychotherapy or existential theory, there is only one thing I wish to say.
This book is a great source of knowledge about human beings. Being a feminist is not just a label (as I said before) or just a lifestyle. Being a feminist is about human rights, existing as a woman in a world that for a long time was made to measure for Man.
As de Beauvoir wrote in her magnum opus, The Second Sex, Woman is the Other and is created: “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman“. There are important existential implications in feminist thought.
So, from a point of view of existentialism, We Should All Be Feminist can inform that part of existence that we call ‘Being a Woman’.
We Should All Be Feminists is also very useful for psychotherapy: one day you might encounter someone who identifies as a feminist, or someone who struggles identifying as a woman, or someone who is sick of being treated unfairly, or even a man who is sick of being a part of the patriarchy. I believe that what Adichie bravely writes in her book is a common experience and the power of words must not be underestimated. How important it is to have travelled part of the road yourself!
Overall, what I want you to take away from this rambling book review is: READ THE DARN BOOK.
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