AUTHOR: CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE
ORIGINAL LANGUAGE: ENGLISH
Before I review, I am putting the fifteen suggestions as extracted from the book (reworded accordingly but mostly verbatim).
1. Be a full person. Motherhood is a glorious gift, but do not define yourself solely by
2. Do it together (Mom & Dad)
3. Teach her that the idea of ‘gender roles’ is absolute nonsense. Do not ever tell her that she
should or should not do something because she is a girl.
4. Reject this entirely the idea of conditional female equality
5. Teach the child to read. Teach her to love books
6. Teach her to question language. Language is the repository of our prejudices, our beliefs, our
assumptions. But to teach her that, you will have to question your own language.
7. Never speak of marriage as an achievement. Find ways to make clear to her that marriage is not
an achievement, nor is it what she should aspire to.
8. Teach her to reject likeability. Her job is not to make herself likable, her job is to be her full
self, a self that is honest and aware of the equal humanity of other people
9. Give the child a sense of identity. It matters.
10. Be deliberate about how mom engages with her and her appearance
11. Teach her to question our culture’s selective use of biology as ‘reasons’ for social norms.
12. Talk to her about sex, and start early. It will probably be a bit awkward but it is necessary
13. Romance will happen, so be on board
14. In teaching her about oppression, be careful not to turn the oppressed into saints
15. Teach her about the difference. Make difference ordinary. Make difference normal. Teach her not to attach value to the difference
These 15 suggestions are absolutely doable if a mother determines to implement. Having said that, it's upon the mother and mother alone to determine what she wants for the girl child. Although there is a huge role of the father in running the family, it is emotionally confined as a mother can understand the emotions of the girl child better than a man. I say this because, before becoming a mother she had been a daughter and she understands, what girls go through emotionally.
This essay is a letter Adichie wrote to a friend who asked for advice on how to raise her daughter as a feminist. It touches upon different aspects like the role of fathers, beauty, sexuality, empathizing with child and societal view of a being girl,.
It is definitely an easy read that is simple accessible and yet very emotional and powerful. The language is very simple while the tone is strong, it is assertive I must say.
It is indeed very accessible who understands compassion and is sensitive at heart. Yet, if I look at the book from a guy's perspective (of a current husband and probably a future-father of a girl child), I doubt if all the suggestions are practical enough. I have reservations in few of these while I agree to most.
This essay really affected me personally and moved me definitely and I felt touched although, I am not a girl. So, for that I give this book a must read rating.