We should all be feminists is an intelligent and humorous TED talk by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Back in 2012 it started a worldwide conversation about feminism. She shares her thoughts on the situation of women in her country, scrutinizes gender roles and encourages to reshape outdated gender expectations. I’ve watched this talk many times and I think everyone should listen to it.
A while ago I was having dinner with a friend. At some point in the conversation she asks me, since when are you a feminist. I was startled by the question – coming from an independent, successful and self-conscious woman. I replied: how can you not be!
If you believe in equality, there you go – you’re a feminist – to me it is that easy. At the end of her talk Chimamanda defines a feminist as a man or a woman who says, „Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today, and we must fix it. We must do better.“ She carries on to explain, that the best feminist she knows is her brother. I also have one of the best feminists living with me. When he changed our son’s diaper and I absent-mindedly thanked him, he said “don’t, he’s just as much my kid”. He also does the dishes, the laundry and takes out the trash. Sometimes people, usually other women, will say: are you lucky! Yes. Because among other things my mother-in-law taught her sons to do their share of the housework. But let me please add – it’s more than just luck. I made a choice, too – for this particular person with his particular attitude.
We’re all shaped by our culture, by the way we are raised. It’s important to reflect and question our every-day behavior, our mindset – because it’s those little things that our sons and daughters will learn from us. As Chimamanda declares: Culture does not make people, people make culture.