“Just because something can be done, doesn’t mean that’s the only way it can be done…”
With these words, globally acclaimed author and feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ignited a global conversation about the importance of feminism to everyone – including men.
As the Keynote Speaker of Inbound 2018, she touched on everything from her own experiences of racism and its impact on identity, to her views on how patriarchy shapes both men and women. But it was her passionate belief that stories can change the world which led to a standing ovation.
“Patriarchy is an old habit. Like old habits, it will take a long time to die—but we can hasten its demise by telling a different story.”
Should you not have time to watch the above video in full, here are just some of Ms. Adichie’s pearls of wisdom:
On male suicide rates: “Both men and women suffer from the illnesses that lead to suicide but it is men that have a much higher rate of dying by suicide. Why? Because men are socialised to suppress so many human parts of themselves, men are socialised not to ask for help, men are socialised to be afraid of fear, men are socialised not to show vulnerability. From the moment we tell a little boy that ‘boys don’t cry’ or we tell a hurting teenager to ‘man up’ we are creating an adult man who will be cheated of the full range of his emotions. So, while men benefit from patriarchy, they also suffer from it.”
On women and anger: “In this country, it is terrible for women to show anger and it is catastrophic for black women to show anger, because the stereotype of the angry black woman is one that is impossible to shrug off once it has been pinned on you. It will follow you for the rest of your life; it will prevent you from getting opportunities that you deserve. I know many accomplished women of all races who have held themselves back in many situations because they don’t want to be considered angry or difficult; they don’t want to be called a bitch.”
On gender roles: “There is nothing a woman should be because she is a woman, and there is nothing a man should be because he is a man…Women are not special, women are human, women are flawed just like men… If we keep saying women are special, then we judge them at a higher and unfair standard.”
Wise words which, we think you will agree, all the world needs to hear.