In case you haven’t heard Beyonce‘s feminist masterpiece ‘Flawless’ from her self-titled album released December 18, 2013, it is a track which features part of a TED Talk speech by feminist, New York Times best-selling author, and speaker Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She is 36, hails from Nigeria and has influenced Beyonce in a huge way in regards to her ideas about femininity in the 21st century.
Elle Magazine interviewed Chimamanda about her books and on that TED Talk which influenced one of the world’s biggest pop stars. This is the excerpt that Queen Bey used in her track of Adichie’s speech:
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 will threaten the man.” Because I am female I am expected to aspire to marriage
I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support, but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to each other as competitors not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.
Feminist: the person who believes in the social political, and economic equality of the sexes.
Chimamanda’s brand of feminist is something we definitely want to aspire to, because it is not extreme and it acknowledges the various types of feminist. One of those being someone who loves fashion. We often think that because the fashion industry is largely responsible for creating an image of an insecure “not good enough” woman, that anyone who likes clothing must be superficial but that shouldn’t be the case. In fact, we need MORE feminists in the fashion world to be agents of change!
“Women who [want] to be taken seriously [are] supposed to substantiate their seriousness with a studied indifference to appearance,” she says to Elle.
“It means that I am present in the world, and that I realize that there is a problem with the way we’ve constructed gender. The expectations on women that most of the world subscribes to—I don’t think we are born with them. I think we create them. I want a world where men and women have equal opportunities. I want a world in which the idea of…being…a man…or a woman…doesn’t cause a form of obstruction to anything that they want to achieve in their life.”
“I like to cook. But I don’t like saying it in public because I find myself being resentful of the idea; “Now you will make a good wife. You can cook, right?” So when people ask me I go, “No, I don’t like cooking!”
We love to promote role models from all over the world who make it their life mission to use whatever their gifts are to raise the visibility of women. Women who want to be able to live a life where they can choose, and not be held back in their country from advancing, due to their gender. What Chimamanda is doing with her fiction novels and her talks are contributing greatly to the way young women in her home country of Nigeria make choices in life.
Take a look at her monumental TED Talk speech from 2013 titled ‘We Should All Be Feminists’. Thank you Beyonce for bringing such an important voice a bigger platform!