Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Teaching Feminism Like a Boss

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a feminist force to be reckoned with. As a scholar, writer, teacher and speaker, Adichie has challenged people around the world to rethink the way they view feminism and equal rights. Speaking frankly about race relations in the United States and abroad, she isn’t afraid to talk about contentious topics and does so with the confidence and conviction of a world leader.

Born to professor parents in Enugu State, Nigeria, Adichie grew up as one of five siblings. She attended Eastern Connecticut State University, where she received a Bachelors degree in Political Science and Communications. Following that she went on to earn a Masters degree in creative writing at John Hopkins University and a Masters of Art in African Studies at Yale University. She has written numerous critically acclaimed novels including Half of a Yellow Sun (2006) and Americanah (2013).

While she is a highly accomplished woman what truly catapulted her onto the world stage was her legendary TED talk, “We Should All be Feminists.” In it she discusses how the feminist manifesto is often misconstrued to mean a man hating separatist movement that spurns marriage and motherhood. But Adichie sets the record straight by clarifying that feminism is simply the pursuit of the social, political and economic equality of the sexes. She emphasizes the fact that many of the differences between men and women stem from antiquated gender norms and the way people are conditioned by society. In her talk she states “Why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same?”

It is evident that Adichie’s brilliance has tapped a nerve within progressive pop cultural spheres. A snippet of her TED talk was featured on Beyonce’s song “Flawless,” and the transcript version of the talk has been made into pocket-size books that have become a staple in Urban Outfitters and artsy bookstores alike.

Similar to Gloria Steinem, Adichie reminds the world that you can be traditionally feminine and a feminist, evidenced by her love of fashion and killer wardrobe. But what truly makes Adichie a role model is that she is not afraid to point out the latent yet potent sexism women face in the world and demands rather than requests change. She herself has smashed the expectations society had placed upon her and has soared far past gender norms to achieve unimaginable success. She is committed to spreading her message of equality and is the boss woman we should all aspire to be.