Book Review: Dear Ijeowele

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

(Library) ★★★★★

Gender roles are so deeply conditioned in us that we will often follow them even when they chafe against our true desires, our needs, our happiness.
— Pg 19, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

I think this is a book that I need to give when someone tells me they are expecting. Some of the references made won't make complete sense due to differences in culture but the message is the important part. Out of all the pages, there isn't one wasted word and it's all words I wish someone had said to me or my mom. The most powerful of that though is the beginning, "I matter equally." I can only share my experience as a privileged white women and I was not raised to matter. At a certain age it became what I could do for others and not about my own growth as a kind and loving human being. It became how I looked and performed whenever I was at in public. My thoughts, feelings, emotions, were not allowed to be valid. I think this is detrimental to a child, any child. It has taken me years and is still something I struggle with, but the truth is I matter and so do you. Your thoughts, feelings, emotions are valid and you have a right to express them.

The fifteen suggestions in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie letter are powerful, well-thought through ideas on how to better round out a child. The section on Feminism Lite for example really hit me and it's only four pages long. Many of the terms she used as examples are all things I've heard, been told, and know friends/family who are in relationships where those beliefs hold true. I knew those were things that bothered me but I've never had it explained so well. 

Ariel Bissett as a great review on this book, one on YouTube and another on goodreads. She brings up a good point regarding feminism. If you are looking for a way to get started, this book has a good outline of things to take into consideration; from clothes having nothing to do with morality, to marriage as an achievement, to social standards and biology. It's a good book that can start you seeking out your truth and feminism. 

What are your thoughts on feminism? Have you read anything by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie?

I've read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie We Should All Be Feminist and I think I need to read it again. There's a tedtalk based on that book and I highly recommend it. 

To be honest I had this huge stack of library books and all were very interesting, full of great stories but I just couldn’t be bothered to read any of them. The manifesto above is number 170 read this year. That’s an intense amount of reading and so I am allowing the slump and not feeling guilty for it. I took all those library books back and browsed quietly in a different area than normal. It was there I found something that hopefully will light the fire back under me, one of those I finished right away and you can see in my other book section and the rest you’ll probably get to see next week.

Other books read this week:

  1. Yoga XXL by Ingrid Kollak, RN, PhD (library) ★★★★★ - I have always known that my practice is very different from most American Yoga and it’s refreshing to find books that support having a unique practice and a unique body. While I fall under the “skinny” line most of the time, if I was to ever teach I would not want my practice built around that. This book has many awesome options for larger bodies and for limited movement ability. It showcases many things I’ve never heard of and will incorporate into my practice (hello, modified turtle pose!). Love the format this was written in and the body positive message.

Have you read anything interesting this week?