Dear Ijeawele Reflection Blog

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions is a letter written by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to her friend Ijeawele on how to raise her daughter, Chizalum Adaora, to be a feminist. The fifteen suggestions Chimamanda writes range from teaching Chizalum that her body is her own or that culture can be beautiful, but can also be ugly. Each suggestion has a story from either her and Ijeawele’s life or from the life of someone Chimamanda to give an example of how that suggestion can affect someone’s life if it is not taught. These suggestions at first seemed like apparent things you would teach children, but as I reflect on my own life, I realize that these are not things that are commonly taught. Even in my own childhood, I was always taught that since I am a girl I must sit and act a certain way. I was taught that my culture is beautiful, even the part that says I must serve the men of the house or the part that says once I can make delicious food, I am ready to marry. Chimamanda urges Ijeawele to teach Chizalum about all sides of life, that she is her own person and that she should never feel ashamed or upset about anything she chose in her life. As I read the suggestions again, I wish I was learning them as I grew up to be an adult. I do not think I would have ever had the issues I had in my past if I grew up with those ideas in my mind like how they will be in the mind of Chizalum and the daughter of Chimamanda. I am not saying that Chizalum and the daughter of Chimamanda would not have hardships in their lives, but that they will know the truths that their mothers have been teaching them since they were young and they know they can always confine in their parents when they need to.

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