The first Tuesday of every month, I'm selecting a feminist, business, or self-help book to review for that month. And, rest assured — if I'm featuring it — there’s something you oughta know!
Last month I covered The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success by Darren Hardy. I gave it a 4/5. Two of the chapters I will keep on my phone to tune into as a pick me up and reading it inspired me to start this new 21-day challenge series.
This month I'm covering We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I chose it because it was highly rated on Amazon - 4.6/5 stars out of 1,108 reviews. I downloaded it on my audible account and then listened to her TEDx Talk and it’s the same thing. I’m not sure what’s different actually. So that was a bit disappointing that I paid for content that I could get for free. She presented December 2012 and although some of her messaging is a bit dated in the current conversation (which is a good thing) some of it isn’t (which is frustrating).
Here's my review in 3 takeaways:
Takeaway #1 - Something that’s obvious to me isn’t obvious to others
I thought being a feminist was obvious. I mean, even McDonalds is getting behind it. But apparently we still have some work to do.
I went to a lunch recently with some other women, when talking about female organizations to help support women entrepreneurship one of the women responded and said “yea, I just don’t like women focused stuff with the high heels and pink lipstick.” I wanted to respond with, “my sweet sister, what events are you going to?” and instead I just sat there confused.
It’s obvious to me that there needs to be more support for women in entrepreneurship but maybe it’s just not obvious to others even if those others are women. Maybe I need to say these stats before I talk about the need for female founder support.
Takeaway #2 - Men don’t even think about gender…
I was at a networking night once and naturally when people ask me what the name of my company is - feminism gets brought up. It’s kind of funny how some men act. I kind of feel bad for them… we’re in this whole new world of awareness - it’s going to be awkward for a bit. (but Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets it and apparently all these other celebrities dudes too… I love you Mark)
After introducing myself and my business a dude said “I don’t discriminate at all between men and women, it’s not an issue for me…”
I almost spit my drink out and wanted to be like, “yea, okay.” But I didn’t… cause, I was tired.
Because look, it’s still an issue for me and I’m a loud, proud, angry, bra-burning (actually I’ll keep my bra for my size G ladies for now, thanks) feminist.
Also, I can’t for the life of me remember if my very feminist girlfriend said this or if I read it in a book but the story is that she hopped on a plane and noticed there was a female pilot. She thought, “Wow, a female pilot! Amazing”. But when shit hit the fan and there was some worse-than-normal-turbulence she instantly thought, “oh no, it’s a female pilot.”
Tina Fey went on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman and they were talking about gender inequality in comedy. David then said something like “oh, I don’t think any women would want to work for me anyway.” To which Tina responded “oh no David, they do.” THIS IS THE PROBLEM.
It’s these moments that we’re not thinking that are important. The thing is, we all (men and women) have a bias (unconscious or conscious) against women and it’s not until we’re aware of it that we’ll achieve equality.
Takeaway #3 - Men suffer from the patriarchy too, just not as much as women
Adichie talks about how men are culturally still required to pay for everything in a partnership even if that man doesn’t have the money to do so. They need to do it, to “be a man”.
It makes me think about this hilarious Michelle Wolf bit:
So look, not all men are bad and a lot of them are aware of inequalities and don’t like it. My partner is incredible and I think we have a pretty egalitarian relationship but sometimes both of us play into patriarchal roles because that’s what we were raised with and that’s the society we live in. For example, after we had married (10 years ago) I was doing our laundry and I swear was folding thousands of his tube socks. I was getting all worked up because all of them were inside out and it was taking so long. When he came home I really laid into him about it - “can you just put your socks off right side out before you put them in the hamper?” To which he replied “sure, but you could also just not fold my laundry.” It was like the heavens opened and angels sang, don’t fold his laundry, of course!
We all have a long way to go but it’s not until we understand that we all need to be feminists that women (and men) won’t live under the patriarchy and that we’ll have all the rights that men do.
The main reason this gets a 4 and not a 5 is because I paid $15 on audible for content that was free.
Next month I'm featuring How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan (USA + AUS). Read it with me! And sign up to come to the Book Club!
Have a book suggestion? Let us know in the comments below!