Last Saturday I was very lucky to have a front row seat to an interview with Chimamanda Ngozie Adchie about feminism and her new book ‘The Feminist Manifesto & 15 suggestions.’ It was a superb talk that created many light bulb moments for me. Adichie, much like a literary rock star, held the floor through wit and wisdom. Of course, having my own little girl I was now thinking about the lessons I would pass onto her, and so I had begun to revisit the lessons I had learnt growing up. There were many, many important things she said but I’m still mulling over her words that girls are brought up to be liked and in doing so, reduced themselves so their intelligence,, creativity, passion didn’t offend. This spoke volumes to me, and transported me back to many instances where I had not just been told to be this way but had consequently chosen to be this way. A thousand fires had been lit in me and I wanted my daughter to have her voice, to be strong. But how could I focus on my daughter when I hadn’t addressed any of this with my sons. Feminism doesn’t just belong in the realms of the female – men – my sons also had to understand and want equality. Would I have expected my son to do more housework if he was a 16 year old girl instead? Would I have expected to him spend more time with the family? I like to think not but I don’t know. So, I decided I must to take action and create a plan. I told them both I wanted them to think about Feminism because it was really important to me I raised sons who treated women as equals. I told them I had a plan – we were going to watch Adichie’s Ted Talk – We should All be Feminists, watch Emma Watson’s speech ‘He for She’ speech and then I was going to read them a suggestion from Adichie’s manifesto each day for us to reflect on. They thought this was all unnecessary and were only appeased by the fact that I said we would do this all over dinner, and not in one day!
Yesterday we watched Adichie’s Ted Talk. My 16 year old laughed at the jokes and only attempted one escape. My 13 year old got distracted half way but did stay until the end. And, my one year old yelled throughout demonstrating that she was always going to make sure her voice was heard. I don’t think it was their light bulb moment but I thought an important point was made. We were going to think about a better world for men and women together, and we were going to start with us.