Review: We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Book cover: Above and below the title are six circles, three circles in two rows. The left half of each circle is white, the right half is black.

We Should All Be Feminists is written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, one of the most well-known Nigerian authors of our time. I have read Americanah – a beautiful fiction book and her TED talk The Danger of a Single Story was one of the most moving and motivating TED Talks I have ever heard. If you’re in the diverse book community, I suggest listening or reading it (it is available in video format and as a transcript). There is also a TEDx talk We Should All Be Feminists available (with subtitles) – I have not watched it yet.

Once I knew that she had written a book about the necessity of feminism, I knew I had to get my hands on it. It’s an #ownvoices book.

The Good

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie discusses the necessity of feminism by using anecdotes from her life and her friends. This added a lot of substance to the book as it made it less educational and more descriptive. 

A huge bonus, in my opinion, is that she not only discusses how sexism can negatively impact women but also men. I find that often the benefit of feminism for men is not mentioned. Here is a quote that I adored:
“Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage.”

She also mentions how men can use their privilege. In my opinion, this section does not only apply to men, who are, without a doubt, privileged when it comes to sexism. It also applies to people who are benefit (indirectly and directly) from racism, homoantagonism, religious discrimination and other types of discrimination.

The Bad

I don’t like this cover as I find that it alludes to a gender binary – there are other covers though. This is not an issue that I only have with the cover, but also with the book. The book keeps suggesting that there are only two genders. This is the only criticism I have with the book.

I think that there could have been a text passage that explains why some people don’t call themselves feminists, even though they want gender equality as there are valid reasons. Here is a link to an article from EverydayFeminism (What They Really Mean When They Say They’re Not A Feminist).

All in all

The book only discusses sexism. As I see feminism as primarily the movement against sexism, which has to be intersectional in order to succeed, I thought this was good. I am an advocate for intersectionality but don’t view the terms intersectional feminism and intersectionality as synonyms but rather intersectional feminism as a type of intersectionality.

I recommend this book to everyone as I think it’s a useful resource.

4 stars

How do you feel about the word feminism? What do you think about the movement?


17 thoughts on “Review: We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  1. Excellent review! You’ve reminded me that I really need to get my hands on this. I look for it every time I’m at my local indie bookstore since my library doesn’t carry it (or most of her books, annoyingly enough). I think a book on feminism would do my soul good since the author of the only other one I’ve read wouldn’t know what intersectional feminism was if it slapped them in the face.


  2. I really like her Ted Talk, though I read the book version first. I also really enjoyed this and I’m glad you did too! Great review!


  3. Great review! I’ve yet to pick up a Adichie novel, but every review I see of hers reminds me that I really need to hop to it.


  4. Loved the review – I think you make such a good point about intersectional feminism being only one type of intersectionality! I think this point could help us understand systematic issues a lot better


  5. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this book, you definitely mentioned some aspects of the book I hadn’t thought of and I am so grateful for that.


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