by Avalon Saja, Class 9

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian author, a woman and a feminist. She has performed several ground-breaking Ted Talks and written various books including the Purple Hibiscus: a harrowing novel about a woman and her family who are beaten by her husband. During her speech “We Should All Be Feminists”, she states that whilst she was promoting her novel, a Nigerian journalist advised her to not refer to herself as a feminist because “feminists are women who are unhappy because they cannot find husbands”. Another woman told her that she had been “corrupted by Western books.” 

Some may think it is common sense that our genders should be equal; that we should get paid equally for doing the same job; that we both can become world leaders; and that we should both share the domestic responsibilities of cooking and cleaning. However, sadly, this viewpoint is not universal. Some parents raise their daughters to clean, to cook and to be ashamed of revealing their bodies. They raise their sons to not show weakness or express their emotions freely. 

Maintaining this limited perspective teaches people that women are not as worthy as men, they are not as capable as men, and they are not as smart as men. The attitudes prevalent in society limits individuals from achieving what they are truly capable of. Nevertheless, like Adichie once said, “The person more likely to lead is not the physically stronger person; it is the more creative person, the more intelligent person, the more innovative person, and there are no hormones for those attributes”. In my experience, this person could be a man or a woman.

In Adichie’s novel Purple Hibiscus, there is a character named Ifeoma. She is a feminist. She raises her children not to do what their gender roles say they should do, but to do what they are passionate about. I believe that gender roles restrict people in how they live their life. It draws out people’s lives for them and does not leave room on the paper for them to explore. 

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