Famed Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – delivered a brilliant Ted Talk April 12. In the 30-minute lecture, the Orange Prize winner explores the numerous issues women in Africa and throughout the world are experiencing.

The author of the newly-released Americanah also encourages all people to embrace the core of feminism in order to push the boundaries of gender roles.

Watch Adichie’s Ted Talk below.

What do you think of Adichie’s words of encouragement? Do you agree with her regarding feminism?

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  • Kacey

    I just want to say that I absolutely LOVE Chimamanda’s work. I have read all of her books to date (including her latest, ‘Americanah’). And she is a fantastic speaker! I had another speech she made a few years ago regarding race & racism saved in my YouTube account. She is fabulous.

  • I love her work as well. Americanah is an excellent read!

  • Eduardo

    -“Girls grow up to be women who cannot see that they have desire”. I wish she would explain exactly what she means, but it sounds as if she’s still talking about a romantic notion of desire. I can see how many feminists would react regarding her stance to stop teaching shame to girls (Cross your legs! Cover yourself!). Well, the Hadley Freeman vs. Feministing discussion was very illuminating (and amusing) in a second vs. third wave kind of sense: Beyonce should cover up because she’s messing up feminism! It is indeed amusing that for the longest time men have told women how to behave, and now they’re being told how to act by -of all people- feminists. That is the middle class morality talking, since feminism is largely by and for white middle class women. Some of them have really weird ideas about sexuality (see Germaine Greer, Andrea Dworkin). As a side note, I find that feminism could benefit from a bit of academic credibility, since you need a search team to find a well-known feminist with a Ph.D. in sexology (though I’ll settle for a Ph.D. in psychology) yet most don’t a problem writing about such topics even though their doctoral degrees (if at all) are in areas such as literature (Andrea Dworkin), philosophy (Judith Butler), English (Germaine Greer), etc. A little academic credibility would go a long way in getting feminism to shed its dogmatic character that even Greer acknowledged puts young women off. In other words, less ideology and articles of faith would pave the way for more serious research.

    -”I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and for my femininity”. Don’t let Hadley Freeman her you. Unfortunately there are feminists who would accuse her of making a “patriarchal bargain”. All that talk about the backlash against feminism? Some of those wounds are self-inflicted.

    -I liked her talk, though it looks like she’s just preaching to the choir there. Her simple definition of feminism highlights how problematic and divided the movement has become: NOW as an advocacy group for middle class women, then you have radfems who follow the teachings of Mary Daly and go out of their way to avoid men, the Modesty Police clashing against the Sexually Empowered types, Fat Acceptance against the world… the list goes on. Perhaps feminism is not as agile as it once was? Activism today (e.g. Slutwalk) if anything, deepened the divisions threatening to push the sex wars out of its current passive-aggressive state. And feminism’s systemic racism that bell hooks describes so well never really went away. No wonder some are feeling dejected:

    “Gertner used the lens of the legal profession to speculate why, after earlier rapid advances, feminism’s cultural agenda seems to have stalled.


    Gertner cited one study that showed 30 percent of women leaving the law, including 15 percent of equity partners, those with a financial stake in a firm. Another study, she said, showed that 34 percent of female law graduates have worked part time, compared with only 9 percent of their male counterparts.

    So without a corresponding transformation of family responsibilities, feminism is likely to stay stalled, she said. ‘We’ve hit a wall.’”


    Others are dismayed at some feminists’ priorities:

    “In 1991, Naomi Wolf published The Beauty Myth, which argued that society promoted unrealistic images of female beauty to keep women locked in place, forlorn and self-hating because they could not achieve that flawlessness themselves. Her book encouraged women to mobilize and discard their aspirations of plastic perfection and helped launch the Third Wave of feminism. Today, in a disturbing twist, NOW’s president is not decrying the “beauty myth” but is accepting a “beauty reality.”

    The real issue here is not whether women should have the choice to get plastic surgery. It is not a ban on plastic surgery that has been proposed, only an excise tax. What is of greater concern is that the leader of the most prominent feminist organization in the US could speak out on a topic of such minor concern when there are so many feminist issues at stake in the healthcare debate, like reproductive rights and insurance coverage of mammograms. Botox should not be further from feminists’ minds. Aligning feminism with the cause to keep plastic surgery costs low reinforces the notion that feminism is a movement for white, middle-aged, middle-class women. Feminism has needed to lose that label for more than a century.”


    • It seems like you issue is with middle class white women taking up a cause.

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