Dear Ijeawele

I feel like the best way for me to analyze this short, but powerful piece of literature is to include a collection of quotes from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that I found poignant enough to highlight and then touch on some of them from there.

“There is No such thing as Superwoman” (9) “We judge powerful women more harshly than we judge powerful men” (24) “The premise of chivalry is female weakness” (30) “Her job is not to make herself likable” (36) “Feminism and femininity are not mutually exclusive” (43) “What did boys do on Saturdays?” (45) “Ugly shame… may your daughter never encounter it” (51) “Why were we raised to speak in low tones about periods?” (54) “Women are as human as men are” (60)

These quotes are my collection of the best assertions that Adichie made throughout the entire letter to Ijeawele. I think she touches on a beautiful point in all of her suggestions, but as my collection of quotes shows I was more drawn to the quotes near the end of the text. Of all the quotes; however, “her job is not to make herself likable” (36) is the most powerful in my opinion. As she suggestions, women are repeated told to make themselves likable and to nurture the feelings of even those who hurt us. This belief has hurt so many people as they silence themselves for the greater good.

These ideas that Adichi shares are truly inspirational, and even though she suggests that the suggestions she gives may not be good because she doesn’t have any experience raising children, they are all coming from a solid base. Many people have raised children with less of a firm grip on these concepts than where she is coming from, and I think her advice to Ijeawele is not too over the top. Overall, her advice is something I would give to someone else, or take myself when it comes to raising and just interacting with children in general.

Alex Lagon

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