“We say to girls ‘you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man’.” Words spoken by writer and author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Born and raised in her home country Nigeria, Adichie grew up like many other African girls in a society where girls aren’t as privileged as their male counterparts. The author of books such as “Americanah” and “Half of a yellow sun” was raised in a household that encouraged their daughter’s education but also taught her how to fulfill her responsibilities as a woman, which meant playing the role as the homemaker and obedient wife.
Adichie hensforth decided to voice herself through her work. Poems, stories and books were written, that spoke to many other young African girls struggling to survive in a male-dominated culture.
Her words of female empowerment and encouragement reached international pop icon Beyoncé, who featured Chimamanda’s TEDxEuston talk titled “We should all be feminists” in her song “Flawless”.
Chimamanda‘s initial aim was to solely target the African people, to influence them and leave a mark on a debate that is never openly discussed. In response to how she felt about Beyoncé sampling her in the song, Chimamanda said “I’m so bored by this question, but I will say that I’m happy that my thirteen-year-old niece calls herself a feminist—not because I made the speech, but because of Beyoncé. Having attained the status of “cool” to my niece is wonderful.”
Beyoncé – The “wrong” type of feminist
As a self-proclaimed modern-day feminist the former Destiny’s Child member received some backlash, some from the feminism community that question whether a woman, who promotes sexuality in her music videos should refer to herself as a “feminist”:
The definition of a feminist describes a person who supports feminism, meaning a person who supports and defends equal social, economic and cultural rights for women.
But the term is not solely reduced to females as it might suggest. Supporters of equality between men and women like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Legend and the 14th Dalai Lama have openly expressed their opinions. It is not a debate on who should overpower who, but how to (f)empower each other.