Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has, once again, bestowed some pretty remarkable feminist knowledge – this time upon students on their graduation day at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.
The award-winning author – whose famous We should all be feminists speech featured on Beyoncé’s hit song ***Flawless last year – was speaking at the college’s 137th Commencement address when she gave a detailed and interesting, speech to the Class of 2015.
Speaking about the first time she encountered gender issues, Ms Adichie recalled how she started wearing make-up at around 23 “because of a loud, unpleasant man.” She continued: “He was one of the guests at a friend’s dinner party.
“The conversation at dinner was about traditional Igbo culture, about the custom that allows only men to break the kola nut.
“I argued that it would be better if that honour were based on achievement rather than gender and he looked at me and said, dismissively: ‘You don’t know what you are talking about. You’re a small girl.’”
Desperate for the man to have disagreed with the substance of her argument, she said: “By looking at me – young and female – it was easy for him to dismiss what I said.”
After urging the graduates to “create the world you want to live in”, Ms Adichie gives them some worldly advice to take with them. Some of the more notable points she made were:
“Write television shows in which female strength is not depicted as remarkable but merely normal.”
“Teach your students to see that vulnerability is a human rather than a female trait.”
“Commission magazine articles that teach men how to keep a woman happy because there are already too many articles that tell women how to keep a man happy.”
“In media interviews, make sure fathers are asked how they balance family and work. In this age of ‘parenting as guilt,’ please spread the guilt equally. Make fathers feel as bad as mothers. Make fathers share in the glory of guilt.”
“Campaign and agitate for paid paternity leave everywhere in America.”
“Hire more women where there are few, but remember that a woman you hire doesn’t have to be exceptionally good. Like a majority of the men who get hired, she just needs to be good enough.”
“Please do not twist yourself into shapes to please. Don’t do it. If someone likes that version of you – that version of you that is false and holds back – then they actually just like that twisted shape and not you.”
“Please don’t waste your time on Earth – but there is one exception: the only acceptable way of wasting your time on Earth is online shopping.”
“Girls are often raised to see love only as giving. Women are praised for their love when that love is an act of giving. But to love is to give and to take. Please love by giving and by taking.”
Ending her empowering speech, Ms Adichie gained rapturous applause, and a standing ovation, when she told the young graduates: “You’ll know from that small and true voice inside you that we females are so often socialised to silence.
“Don’t silence that voice. Dare to take.”
Watch her entire inspiring speech here:Reuse content