Adichie has a wealth of knowledge and valid opinions regarding gender, as outlined in her book We Should All Be Feminists . In her view, gender has traditionally been used to limit people’s true selves. Gender roles, expectations, and stereotypes have been used by society to discriminate, enslave, and limit...
Adichie has a wealth of knowledge and valid opinions regarding gender, as outlined in her book We Should All Be Feminists. In her view, gender has traditionally been used to limit people’s true selves. Gender roles, expectations, and stereotypes have been used by society to discriminate, enslave, and limit people, and to compel them to conform to what is deemed “right” or “acceptable” at the expense of being their true selves.
These aspects of gender are more destructive to women, who face most of the unfair gender expectations. For instance, Adichie argues,
The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.
Gender expectations, according to Adichie, are more unfairly skewed against women. Since childhood, girls are taught to limit themselves to be more subservient to men in society, and particularly to their future husbands. Adichie opines,
We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage.
These expectations, especially regarding marriage, are not imposed on the boys as they are on the girls, which begs the question: Why the double standards?
According to Adichie, gender has been used to exclude women in various socioeconomic and political agendas for centuries. Therefore, the call to feminism is not only a call for affirmative action against gender discrimination but also a human rights action advocating for gender equality. Adichie argues,
Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.
This sentiment complicates the gender issue, noting that gender is indeed problematic in society, especially as far as the pervasive expectations, stereotypes, and roles are unfairly aimed at limiting women’s potential. Overall, Adichie says gender is only as good as it offers everyone the freedom to be who they really are, without undue limitations or expectations from society.