By Samantha Foster
Raising a daughter can be a challenging task, especially when it feels like the world is somehow against her just for being female. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions is a book that can help fellow parents or guardians give their daughters the tools they need to become strong independent women who love themselves despite what society may think about them.
Written in as a letter, Adichie’s Dear Ijeawele is relatively short but it’s light humor and insightful knowledge will have you tempted to read the whole thing in one sitting. What Achiche suggests is reasonable, such as teaching your daughter that marriage shouldn’t be considered an achievement and it is something that she shouldn’t aspire to have as well as teaching her to be a full person, not letting things like motherhood define completely who she is.
There are suggestions made with young African- American girls in mind as well. Achichie explains that from an early age girls will begin to notice that the mainstream world often idolizes European standards of beauty and as the parent or guardian, it is your job to teach your daughter that people who fit into those standards are beautiful and people who do not fit into those standards are beautiful as well.
At times, Adichie's suggestions may seem a little unrealistic given the fact that there are many different norms and cultures which may make her feminist manifesto hard to implement depending on where you live. An example of this being Adichie’s first suggestion, where she urges to teach young women to reject the idea that motherhood and work are mutually exclusive. One might find this hard to implement in places like the United States, where maternity leave isn't necessarily the best given the fact that women isn't always guaranteed her job back after giving birth.
Despite this, Dear Ijeawele is a book worth the read.It is an excellent guide for parents and even if you don’t have children, it provides the necessary tools to encourage young females to challenge gender norms, talk about their sexuality, and be the best possible versions of themselves.