Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a perfect example of a feminist bringing attention to women and minorities in the media industry. Being a woman and a minority all in one, Adichie uses her words and videos to spread a message of equality amongst all. Not many people are knowledgeable of Adichie’s work due to the fact that she was born and raised in Nigeria. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was recently a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Awards on March 14th, 2014. The awards, given annually to books published in the United States in English, are chosen by a group of nearly 600 critics and editors from major publications that cover books. Adichie’s novel, “Americanah” (Knopf), about a young woman who leaves Nigeria to pursue a college education in the United States, has been praised for its incisive discussion of race, immigration and social dynamics. (New York times). When publishing the book, Adichie made a statement in regards to the double standards that come into play when a male and female decide to publish a book based on love. Adichie states, ‘Don’t we all write about love? When men do it, it’s a political comment. When women do it, it’s just a love story.”
Comparing her life in Nigeria to her life in America, Adichie gives a very interesting take on the way life is for women in Nigeria. “Yes. When women do say something, not only is it more likely to be ignored, but the women themselves are accepting of it being ignored. So they’re less likely to push back. That happens less often in Nigeria. Women in corporate settings are more likely to be vocal. Why does she think that is? “Because although there’s a lot of gender bullshit in Nigeria, I think women in the West have a lot more invested in being liked. And being liked if you’re female means a certain thing. So in workplaces, women who are bosses in Nigeria are fierce. The people who work for them, men and women, respect them. But, these are women who very keenly perform gender stereotypes when they go back home. And if they give a public interview, they have to say, “My husband supported me and allowed me to.” Adichie believes that without equal opportunity for its women, Africa will persist as a continent laden with struggles. However, with women as equal partners, with women as painters, writers, architects, presidents, engineers, and scientists, Africa can become a place where equality exist.
Adichie prides herself in being a woman that is able to use different outlets to speak about issues that she feels should gain as much attention as possible in order to create change. Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, which recounts the experiences of two sisters during the Biafran war also discusses gender inequality. “You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man. Do you hear me?’ Aunty Ifeka said. ‘Your life belongs to you and you alone.” (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun). With these publications, I feel that Adichie is taking a stand for woman in society. With alternative media such as the Internet, women like Adichie are able to provide influential advice and words of wisdom to women across the globe.
Adichie delivered a talk entitled “We Should All Be Feminists” at the TEDxEuston conference in 2013, discussing gender inequality in Africa, a topic often addressed in her novels. Using personal experiences and anecdotes, she uncovers the distinctly patriarchal nature of Nigeria and its individual and collective implications. In her TEDx Talk, Adichie spoke of the constant dismissal directed at women in Nigeria. Adichie recalled young girls being taught primarily how to cook for their brothers, despite them being highly intelligent, and capable of being useful for many other things besides cooking. Singer, Beyoncé Knowles, sampled Adichie’s words on her single entitled “Flawless.” The song is used to empower women, and to tell make women feel as if they are flawless at all times.
Nixon, Rob (October 1, 2006). “A Biafran Story”. New York Times. Retrieved 04 April 2014..
“Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie”. Random House. Retrieved 04 April 2014.
“Picture of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie”. The Guardian. Retrieved 04 April 2014.