Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions is an epistolary form[1] manifesto written by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Dear Ijeawele was posted on her official Facebook page on October 12, 2016,[2] was subsequently adapted into a book,[3] and published in print on March 7, 2017.[4] Before becoming a book, Dear Ijeawele was a personal e-mail written by Adichie in response to her friend, "Ijeawele",[5] who had asked Adichie's advice on how to raise her daughter as a feminist.[6] The result of this e-mail correspondence is the extended,[1] 62-page[7] Dear Ijeawele manifesto, written in the form of a letter.[5] While the manifesto was written to a female friend, the work's audience scope has been recognized to extend beyond only the mothers of daughters.[8]

Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions
First edition
AuthorChimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Audio read byJanuary LaVoy
GenreEpistolary, feminism
PublisherKnopf Publishers
Media typePrint, e-book, audiobook
Pages80 pages (hardback)
ISBN152473313X US hardback

It is composed of fifteen suggestions on how to raise a feminist daughter,[5] with references to Adichie and Ijeawele's shared Nigerian heritage and Igbo culture.[1][9] Adichie was inspired to publicize the letter after becoming increasingly aware of what she recognized as ongoing gender inequality in her native Nigeria.[6] Dear Ijeawele was listed on NPR's "2017's Great Reads" list.[10]

Synopsis edit

In Dear Ijeawele Adichie attempts to challenge the prejudices of gender roles and expectations.[9] The epistolary form literary device was used to give the reader a personal and intimate impression of the manifesto.[8] Using language intended to be seen as clear, direct, and simple,[1][9] the manifesto is meant to provide parents with the tools to combat situations of gender inequality when raising daughters.[8] The manifesto covers issues ranging from domestic duties such as cooking, to gendered baby clothes.[7] The manifesto asserts that central to raising feminist daughters is the embracing of feminist ideals by mothers raising daughters.[5] One piece of advice that Adichie gives is to "Ask for help. Expect to be helped...Domestic work and care-giving should be gender-neutral."[2]

Adichie rejects the idea of the manifesto as "a parenting book."[7] The manifesto references notable figure Hillary Clinton's title of "wife" on her Twitter account to exemplify claims of gender inequality.[7] The overarching goal of the manifesto is gender equality.[7]

The suggestions edit

Dear Ijeawele prefaces with Adichie's "two 'Feminist Tools'", of which the first is:[2][9]

your premise, the solid unbending belief that you start off with. What is your premise? Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not 'if only.' Not 'as long as.' I matter equally. Full stop.

The fifteen suggestions of Dear Ijeawele begin, respectively, with the following prompts:[2]

  1. Be a full person.
  2. Do it together.
  3. Teach her that 'gender roles' is absolute nonsense.
  4. Beware the danger of what I call Feminism Lite.
  5. Teach Chizalum to read.
  6. Teach her to question language.
  7. Never speak of marriage as an achievement.
  8. Teach her to reject likeability.
  9. Give Chizalum a sense of identity.
  10. Be deliberate about how you engage 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.
  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 difference.

Reception edit

The Guardian has reviewed the work in its book format, writing that "It would be difficult not to like this little book, which shines with all Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s characteristic warmth and sanity and forthrightness" and that "Some of the suggestions feel like mountains of difficulty made simple: but then that’s what manifestos are for."[11] The Harvard Crimson wrote favorably about the book, stating that it "sets a standard for feminism".[12]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d Hampton, Nia (March 7, 2017). "The Wise Counsel of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Feminist Manifesto". The Village Voice.
  2. ^ a b c d Adichie, Chimamanda (October 12, 2016). "'DEAR IJEAWELE, OR A FEMINIST MANIFESTO IN FIFTEEN SUGGESTIONS'". Facebook.
  3. ^ Bascaramurty, Dakshana (March 6, 2017). "Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on Living and Teaching Feminism". The Globe and Mail.
  4. ^ "About Chimamanda Adichie". Archived from the original on 2018-08-20. Retrieved 2018-03-31.
  5. ^ a b c d Greenberg, Zoe (March 15, 2017). "Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Blueprint for Feminism". The New York Times. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Discusses Her New Feminist Manifesto, Dear Ijeawele". YouTube. March 9, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e Krug, Nora (March 8, 2018). "Women, Stop Worrying About Being Liked — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Advice for Living Boldly". The Washington Post.
  8. ^ a b c Ahsan, Sadaf (April 6, 2017). "Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Voice Speaks Above The Noise with her Guide to Raising a Feminist". National Post.
  9. ^ a b c d Katara, Nikhil (September 3, 2017). "Dear Ijeawele or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions: Review". The Free Press Journal.
  10. ^ "Best Books of 2017". Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  11. ^ Hadley, Tessa (May 4, 2017). "Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie review – a feminist manifesto". The Guardian. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  12. ^ Aguilar, Marianne T. (March 29, 2017). "'Dear Ijeawele' Sets a Standard for Feminism". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved April 11, 2018.

External links edit