Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: '[Beyoncé's] Feminism Is Not Mine'

She featured on Beyoncé's single 'Flawless,' but her perception of Beyoncé's type of feminism is anything but...

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It is usually with a collective inhale, followed by wince, that we listen to a smart woman critique another woman's idea of feminism.

And as Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tackles the nuances of Beyoncé's feminist ethos, it seems we are about to get very uncomfortable once again.

The problem is that we've enough men and women in the world refuting the idea of feminism entirely, to be able to afford to have in-fighting among those who stand up for the concept.

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In a recent interview with Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, Adichie chose to draw a line between her own sense of feminism and that of singer Beyoncé.

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'Her type of feminism is not mine,' she says. 'As it is the kind that, at the same time, gives quite a lot of space to the necessity of men.

'I think men are lovely, but I don't think that women should relate everything they do to men: did he hurt me, do I forgive him, did he put a ring on my finger? We women are so conditioned to relate everything to men. Put a group of women together and the conversation will eventually be about men. Put a group of men together and they will not talk about women at all, they will just talk about their own stuff.

'We women should spend about 20 per cent of our time on men, because it's fun, but otherwise we should also be talking about our own stuff,' she concludes.

A fair enough evaluation, from a sage and thoughtful woman.

Interestingly, Adichie's essay 'We Should All Be Feminists' featured in Beyoncé's single 'Flawless' on her album Lemonade - a move for which Adichie obviously gave her blessing.

And what she had to say about Queen Bey wasn't all critique. She was careful to qualify her point with a statement about how important Beyoncé is to young men and women globally.

'Beyoncé is a celebrity of the first order and with this song she has reached many people who would otherwise probably never have heard the word feminism, let alone gone out and buy my essay,' Adichie says. Beyoncé is 'a woman who is in charge of her own destiny, who does her own thing.'

We are probably approaching the stage where we can begin to challenge women's perception of feminism. When men assume it's all about growing your armpit hair, burning your undies and hating anything with a penis, we are of course quick to correct them.

So perhaps then it is time we questioned Taylor Swift's rather mean-girl-esque girl squads, Beyoncé's seeming aggression or any other action done in the name of 'feminism' that doesn't feel entirely sound.

On the other hand, though, when it comes to achieving equality - both politically and culturally - between the sexes, we're still such a long way off and we can't really afford to be alienating, or to damn anyone's efforts who is trying.

Thoughts on a postcard please?

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