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“Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions”

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Rhodes chapter.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote “Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions” in response to a friend’s request for advice on how to raise a daughter as a feminist. This short work, much like Adichie’s other well-known manifesto “We Should All Be Feminists,” is concise while still encompassing the most critical points. I could go on and on about how this is such an important message for both young girls and boys, but instead, I’ll list a few of my favorite quotes so you can read it for yourself:

“Teach her that if you criticize X in women but do not criticize X in men, then you do not have a problem with X, but you have a problem with women.”

“Teach her to question language. Language is the repository of our prejudices, our beliefs, our assumptions.”

“Teach her to question men who can have empathy for women only if they see them as relational rather than as individual equal humans. Men who, when discussing rape, will always say something like “if it were my daughter or wife or sister.” Yet such men do not need to imagine a male victim of crime as a brother or son in order to feel empathy.”

“Teach her that she is not merely an object to be liked or disliked she is also a subject who can like or dislike.”

“If she likes makeup, let her wear it. If she likes fashion, let her dress up. But if she doesn’t like either, let her be. Don’t think that raising her feminist means forcing her to reject femininity. Feminism and femininity are not mutually exclusive.”

“We condition girls to aspire to marriage and we do not condition boys to aspire to marriage, and so there is already a terrible imbalance at the start. The girls will grow up to be women preoccupied with marriage. The boys will grow up to be men who are not preoccupied with marriage. The women marry those men. The relationship is automatically uneven because the institution matters more to one than the other.”

“Love is not only to give, it is also to take.”

Okay, okay I’ll stop here but you get the point. This stuff is GOLD. I highly suggest picking up this quick read, especially if you’ve enjoyed any of Adichie’s other critically acclaimed works such as “Americanah,” “We Should All Be Feminists,” “Purple Hibiscus,” or “Half of a Yellow Sun.” These quotes speak for themselves and I hope you do as well. Happy reading!


A connoisseur of books, fan of spicy foods, and a tea aficionado. She loves black coffee, groovy tunes, and justice.