It’s time for my monthly virtual book club post! After reading my response (or before, that’s fine), hop over to see what Libby and Stephanie thought of this pick.
We should all be feminists.
The first thing that stands out to me in this essay (mini-book) is how that statement, so basic and true, can be so difficult to utter confidently, without feeling the temptation to add any qualifiers. The beginning of the essay says as much, with Adiche describing her journey into claiming the noun for herself. The term does have negative connotations. It can lead to uncomfortable, complicated conversations. It’s at the same time convenient and inconvenient. Her path towards claiming the word reminded me much of my own, which I wrote about in the past for Libby’s blog. Since my early days where the most I could say was that I was an “egalitarian,” I have really shifted into advocating for my fellow women and calling out sexism where I see it.
At the risk of touching two hot-button topics in one post, I want to point out the passage above. It is so simple and eloquent and also holds up a mirror to the “Black Lives Matter” vs “all lives matter” movements.
Let’s go back to the title for a moment. We should ALL be feminists. All oppressed people need allies. Women, while not overtly oppressed in the way we have been for centuries, still get the short end of the stick when it comes to safety, job opportunities, sexist media coverage, etc. It is crucial to loop men at all levels into this conversation. My husband will tell anyone willing to listen why he is a feminist. He raves about how many members of upper management in his company are women. His journey has been inspiring to me and makes our life journey together stronger.
What a day to tackle this post. Hillary Clinton has just become the first woman to be nominated as a Presidential candidate by one of America’s two major parties. (Notably, the Green Party and others have had female candidates in the past). Not having a major candidate has frustrated us (women) for years, yet the political pipeline is still lacking in volume of qualified candidates. Bit by bit, this is changing. Women who were in high school and college during the heady “grrl power” days of the 90s are hitting a good stride in their political careers. We are seeing more women at various levels elected office. This trend must continue!
I’m going to keep this short since the source material was short. Instead of reading my thoughts, read the mini-book (it will only take about 3o minutes) and let me know your thoughts in the comments. If you’d rather listen instead of reading, you can listen to the TedxTalk (which was closely adapted into this book) here on YouTube.
Truly, I feel like I covered most of what I think about gender roles (and lack thereof) and feminism in the piece I wrote for Libby this spring. I’m still proud of it and I will still talk anyone’s ear off about how my husband is a feminist and what it’s like to be in a feminist marriage.
Our book for August will be The Book of Unknown Americans which has been on my “to-read” list for probably about a year now. Over the past two years I’ve been making a concerted effort to read highly reviewed books by writers of color so I couldn’t be more ready to tackle this. This NYT review from two years ago sounds like it could have been written today. So excited Steph suggested it! As always, you’re invited to read along and discuss your thoughts during the month or at the end of the month on one of our respective blog posts!
7 thoughts on ““We Should All be Feminists” Book Review and August Selection!”
I’m so glad you hit the hot button topics, because I was thinking the same exact things while reading and reflecting upon the book. It can be awkward to talk about why approaching it as a matter of human rights/all lives and not recognizing sexism and gender inequality for what they are, is really inadequate. Because people mean well when they say those things, they just miss the mark a little. I loved your review and I’m so excited for next month’s book!
Sometimes they mean well and sometimes it’s a brush-off. I think it’s important to calmly and rationally explain the differences and hope the root of the matter breaks through.
Great review! I can’t get over how much truth she speaks in her books. My husband was the first person I heard refer to themself as a feminist. In high school! Power to feminist marriages, they am really are amazing.
Thank you! I think the number of people shocked to hear a man self-define as feminist is telling. Like they think it’s just a female thing. And then when the man defines it, people realize they agree. Sigh… frustrating, but it is why we need them as allies.
I always feel like you do such a better job than me at really getting to the heart of things! :D I loved this book and I’m really glad that we took it on. I can’t WAIT to start The Book Of Unknown Americans and to hear what you think of it.
You flatter me too much! I want to give a copy of this to every incoming freshman that passes through my office. I’m VERY excited to read The Book of Unknown Americans, too.
Seems to be an excellent book, I read with interest the presentation, I will read this interesting book and August Selection.