The analysis of the ted talk by Adichie called “We Should All Be Feminists” addresses issues in our culture and provides ways to overcome such social inequality. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian feminist and has authored several books, including The Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and has awards like Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the Orange Prize under her belt. She focuses on understanding these stereotypes existing in our society and tries to give solutions to get rid of these societal standards. Although set in a Nigerian setting, this talk aid one in understanding the power dynamics present throughout the world.
She starts by elaborating how the concept of feminism has been trivialized to make it look unattractive. The concepts of feminism could be equated with terrorism to help the audience understand the negative connotations attached to it. The word feminist comes with so much “negative baggage” (Adichie). Moreover, she explains that the superiority of men has been normalized because it's been fed to us from our childhood. She cited her experience as a child when the teacher picked a boy classmate to become the class monitor, just because he was a boy even though she was the one who deserved that title. This showcases how this attitude is embedded in our minds that it goes without notice and looks normal. Then gender roles are used as means to restrict the do's and do not's on women for them to fit the societal standard imposed on them. The idea of equating an independent woman to a "bad" woman puts them in a box that they cannot outgrow. It sabotages the creative element by fitting her in the cookie-cutter norms of society. She disproves the logic of women being called weak or less intelligent through real-life examples adding credibility to her arguments. She states that "I am trying to unlearn many lessons of gender I internalized while growing up. But I sometimes still feel vulnerable in the face of gender expectations" (Adichie). However, she points out that one does not need to be apologetic, and change needs to come from the mindset to reflect in society.
Furthermore, she also explains how this change can be materialized. Most importantly, she talks about the role of upbringing a child regardless of being a girl or a boy. As both need to learn these concepts and reflect them in their lives. Hence, “conscious raising” (Sarachild) can be utilized in terminating these gender roles. As their origins lie in the structure of family, domestic and personal lives. Gender roles do not just affect girls, but boys too negatively. Men are molded not to have feelings and to always stay strong. Adichie puts this toxic masculinity like "a hard small cage, and we put them inside it" (Adichie). Moreover, "Toxic masculinity, the idea that there is only one way to be a man....is a double-edged sword. First, it harms the boys and men who fail to live up to gendered expectations of who they should be. Then, sometimes, these men perpetrate violence in response, leaving innocent victims in their wake" (Clemens). They are also not allowed to breathe as they are expected to fit the societal norms. This problem of toxic masculinity materializes through men with weak egos that take it out on women as they believe they can. "Gender then becomes a social category imposed on the sexed body. In that way, the binary opposition and the social process of gender relationships both become part of the meaning of power itself; to question or alter any aspect threatens the entire system" (Scott). Although this change seems "uncomfortable," nevertheless needs to be upgraded and can only be countered if they are raised differently with fewer expectations to meet in order to let their true identity to shine through. Therefore, if they are raised with a more conscious mindset, humanity will cooperate to form a better and equitable world.
Work Citation Bank
“We Should All Be Feminists | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | TEDxEuston.” YouTube, 12 Apr. 2013, www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg3umXU_qWc.
Scott, Joan W. “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis.” The American Historical Review, vol. 91, no. 5, 1986, pp. 1053–1075. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1864376. Accessed 15 Nov. 2020.
Sarachild, Kathie. “Consciousness-Raising: A Radical Weapon.” Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, 12 Mar. 1973, www.rapereliefshelter.bc.ca/learn/resources/consciousness-raising-radical-weapon-kathie-sarachild
CLEMENS, COLLEEN. “Toxic Masculinity Is Bad for Everyone: Why Teachers Must Disrupt Gender Norms Every Day.” Teaching Tolerance, 4 Jan. 2018, www.tolerance.org/magazine/toxic-masculinity-is-bad-for-everyone-why-teachers-must-disrupt-gender-norms-every-day.