Two Book Nerds Talking Presents

THE LITERATURE
FOR EQUALITY
PROJECT

8 Books. Discussions. Interviews. In-Class Activities.

Ep 2: Who’s Afraid of the Word ‘Feminism’?

Summary

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2014)

Genre: Non-fiction / Essay / Speech

Why do people dislike the word feminist, and what does it truly mean to be a feminist? Why do boys and men shy away from talking about gender equality? Feminism is a dirty word for many people who don’t see that gender barriers and discrimination is a very real thing. Wanting equality does not mean wanting to put women before men, but rather seeking to erase the stereotypes that dictate roles for people based on their gender rather than their individual abilities. People do a great disservice to both men and women by teaching them to adhere to strict gender roles, and Adichie’s speech is a stepping stone to examining how gender roles affect everyone in society. Men and boys, too, are negatively affected when gender is used to define the roles, abilities and markers of success of a person.

Adichie brings forth the argument of questioning culture, toxic masculinity and reclaiming back the word feminist. ‘We should all do better,’ she says.

Content warnings: Brief mention of gang rape

Additional Materials

3 Discussion Questions

1/ What do you think is a feminist?

2/ Can you name anyone that you think is a feminist?

3/ What is your favourite part of the discussion? 

For questions based on the book excerpts in the episode click here.

 

For For Further reading check out Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s books, Dear Ijeawele: A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. 

It’s basically a letter she wrote in response to her friend’s request for suggestions of how she could raise her daughter to be a feminist.

Another excellent book to check out is Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics by Bell Hooks, which encourages us to demand alternatives to patriarchal, racist, and homophobic culture, and to imagine a different future.


Interested in the African diaspora experience? Check out our discussion on Booker prize winner Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo.

Or why not check out a fantasy by N.K. Jemisin with our Broken Earth Trilogy discussion. This African American writer won three Hugos in a row for each book in the trilogy.

Prizes up for grabs!
The Literature for Equality Project Contest Entry Form

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Episode Notes:

Iban Woman by Golda Mowe (2018)

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Adventure

Why do people dislike the word feminist, and what does it truly mean to be a feminist? Why do boys and men shy away from talking about gender equality?

Feminism is a dirty word for many people who don’t see that gender barriers and discrimination is a very real thing. Wanting equality does not mean wanting to put women before men, but rather seeking to erase the stereotypes that dictate roles for people based on their gender rather than their individual abilities. People do a great disservice to both men and women by teaching them to adhere to strict gender roles, and Adichie’s speech is a stepping stone to examining how gender roles affect everyone in society. Men and boys, too, are negatively affected when gender is used to define the roles, abilities and markers of success of a person.

Further discussion: Is a feminist someone who is ‘too Westernized’ and who rejects their own culture? What role does tradition and culture play in perpetuating outdated patriarchal values, and how can this be addressed?

Toxic masculinity- how on the flipside of training daughters to be more submissive, people also condition their sons to not show vulnerability or prove their worth through aggression and earning power.

Content warnings (for the book): Brief mention of gang rape