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One of our readers sent us a link this week to this amazing Ted Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Inspired by her talk we did more research and found out that Chimamanda has written a book, also called “We Should all be Feminists”. This teeny tiny book has been deemed required reading in Sweden, and every 16 year old (male and female) is given a free copy in school.

If you’re a Beyone fan (In fairness, who isn’t a Beyonce fan?), you might also recognise Cimamanda sharing extracts of her book in “Flawless”, where she says “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, ‘You can have ambition, but not too much.’”

People often do an eye roll when they hear the word ‘feminist’, as they associate it with angry, hairy armpitted, man hating, bra burning, butch women who blame men for everything and like to shout a lot. Chimamanda defines her understanding of the word..

I’m a feminist because I want to live in a world that is more just. I’m a feminist because I want to live in a world where a woman is never told that she can or cannot or should or should not do anything because she is a woman. I want to live in a world where men and women are happier. Where they are not constrained by gender roles. I want to live in a world where men and women are truly equal. And that’s why I’m a feminist.

She also shares concern for men who she says suffer as a result of society’s expectation that they are strong, never show weakness, and never talk about their problems. She calls masculinity a “hard small cage”.

We teach boys to be afraid of fear, of weakness, of vulnerability. We teach them to mask their true selves, because they have to be, in Nigerian-speak – a hard man.

Here at the Shona Project, we are feminists in the sense that we believe that girls need to take control of their own futures, to have every confidence that they can achieve anything they put their minds to. Whether they decide to do that while sporting a shaved head and tattoos, or false eyelashes and stilettos is nobody’s business but her own.

We have decided to invite all our readers to read this book with us, and share with us what they think. You can order it HERE for €4.61. Its a very small book with a very important message. If you have a school book club, why not suggest this book. If you have a library ask them to stock it. The first 5 people to email info@shona.ie with their name and address will get a free copy, as long as they promise to pass it to someone else when they’ve finished.

Share your pictures, thoughts or favourite quotes with us and lets start some conversations about what feminism means to you.

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