Feminism

On this fine Saturday afternoon, as I have finished my usual chores of washing and cooking for myself; I decided to sit behind the music videos of my favorite artiste: Beyonce whom as we all know has released an album which went platinum in less than 10 days.

There is this particular track: Flawless which features a Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This particular track gets to me every time I listen to it. It’s not exactly what Beyonce’s sings about that makes me wonder (not that I think what she says is irrelevant) but it’s about what this particular Nigerian author says that intrigues me. I will confess this: I love reading but I am terrible at sampling African novelist which Chimamanda is.

So today I decide to take my time and google her.

I came up with a long list of news on her but specifically related to Beyonce’s track which I thought was a good thing.  Women from no matter which race should stick together. Anyway; what intrigues me to google her today? Is her use of one word: Feminist and also of course: her contribution to African literature thus far. According to what I gathered: Chimamanda is declining all interviews as at today regarding Beyonce’s track: Flawless. As to why? The media is guessing she didn’t like the use of her words in Beyonce’s track but I don’t think so. I just think she is a simple but elegant novelist who just doesn’t want the attention. It’s just my guess.

What made me curious this afternoon is her words and definition of Feminist? So I listened to her whole speech on youtube and I must say this: It was like listening to my inner voice.

I remember not too long ago; I was arguing with a group of people (male) whom wanted me to take back the word Feminist, which I use to describe myself. They were like: Tammy, trust us: you are not a feminist. And I was like: Huh? But I am.

Why do they think I was not a feminist? Because I like to wear high heels and pink gloss? Because I like to wear cute dresses and stay in tuned with hair trends? But are feminist supposed to be unhappy and angry and gloomy looking? This baffled me. And listening to Chimamanda; I realized this baffled her as well.

Today many women have turned Pretense into an art form. They are pretending to be less angry and accept whatever is thrown at them as a woman because society has made us believe; you cannot have desires or dreams lest you threaten or scare a male. You cannot be a feminist and realize there is a problem with gender because you will scare people especially men away from you. And more importantly; you cannot be all pink and pretty and BE a feminist because once you open your mouth and speak your mind; people will think you have a personality disorder.

Nevertheless: it’s her definition of Feminist that I took away as today’s lesson. Note that: We can all practice the art of Feminism. Feminist is a man or woman who says: Yes there is a problem with gender as it sits today. (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

And to those who are not familiar with the track Flawless and Chimamanda’s speech in there: I copied it here for you:

“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’. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices: always keeping in mind that: Marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support, but why do we teach to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to each other as competitors not for jobs or for accomplishments which I think can be a good thing but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are: Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes”

 To whomever chooses to read this text: I am not an angry and gloomy feminist but a very happy and pretty in pink feminist. Image

2 comments

  1. mike · January 19, 2014

    I think you and the COO of facebook is saying the same thing. Very timely article. (http://www.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_leaders.html)

    • tkumbey · January 19, 2014

      I am quite familiar with that speech and her 3 step analyses: 1. Sit at the table 2. Make your partner a real partner and 3. Don’t leave until you are ready to leave. I try to implement in all aspects of my life. 🙂

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