Teach her that the idea of 'gender roles' is absolute nonsense. Do not ever tell her that she should or should not do something because she is a girl. 'Because you are a girl' is never reason for anything. Ever.
Dear Non-American Black, when you make the choice to come to America, you become black. Stop arguing. Stop saying I'm Jamaican or I'm Ghanaian. America doesn't care.
You don’t even have to love your job, you can merely love what your job does for you - the confidence and self-fulfillment that come with doing and earning.
The educated ones leave, the ones with the potential to right the wrongs. They leave the weak behind. The tyrants continue to reign because the weak cannot resist. Do you not see that it is a cycle? Who will break that cycle?
You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man. Do you hear me?” Aunty Ifeka said. “Your life belongs to you and you alone.
At some point I was a Happy African Feminist Who Does Not Hate Men and Who Likes to Wear Lip Gloss and High Heels for Herself and Not For Men.
Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.
We have a world full of women who are unable to exhale fully because they have for so long been conditioned to fold themselves into shapes to make themselves likeable.
Feminism and femininity are not mutually exclusive. It is misogynistic to suggest that they are. Sadly, women have learned to be ashamed and apologetic about pursuits that are seen as traditionally female, such as fashion and makeup. But our society does not expect men to feel ashamed of pursuits considered generally male - sports cars, certain professional sports. In the same way, men's grooming is never suspect in the way women's grooming is - a well-dressed man does not worry that, because he is dressed well, certain assumptions might be made about his intelligence, his ability, or his seriousness. A woman, on the other hand, is always aware of how a bright lipstick or a carefully-put-together outfit might very well make others assume her to be frivolous.
Some people will say, “Oh, but women have the real power, bottom power.” And for non-Nigerians, “bottom power” is an expression in which I suppose means something like a woman who uses her sexuality to get favors from men. But “bottom power” is not power at all. Bottom power means that a woman simply has a good root to tap into, from time to time, somebody else’s power. And then of course we have to wonder when that somebody else is in a bad mood, or sick, or impotent.
Each time he suggested they get married, she said no. They were too happy, precariously so, and she wanted to guard that bond; she feared that marriage would flatten it into a prosaic partnership.
Marriage can be a good thing, a source of joy, love, and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage, but we don’t teach boys to do the same?
I learned a lot about systems of oppression and how they can be blind to one another by talking to black men. I was once talking about gender and a man said to me, Why does it have to be you as a woman? Why not you as a human being? This type of question is a way of silencing a person's specific experiences. Of course I am a human being, but there are particular things that happen to me in the world because I am a woman. This same man, by the way, would often talk about his experience as a black man. (To which I should probably have responded, Why not your experiences as a man or as a human being? Why a black man?)
Sometimes she worried that she was too happy. . . And her joy would become a restless thing, flapping its wings inside her, as though looking for an opening to fly away.
If we don't place the straitjacket of gender roles on young children, we give them space to reach their full potential.
The Tanzanian told her that all fiction was therapy, some sort of therapy, no matter what anybody said.
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 would 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 see each other as competitors not for jobs or 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.
That a woman claims not to be feminist does not diminish the necessity of feminism. If anything, it makes us see the extent of the problem, the successful reach of patriarchy.
Teach her to question men who can have empathy for women only if they see them as relational rather than as individual equal humans.
The person more qualified to lead is not the physically stronger person. It is the more intelligent, the more knowledgeable, the more creative, more innovative. And there are no hormones for those attributes.
Teach her about difference. Make difference ordinary. Make difference normal. Teach her not to attach value to difference. And the reason for this is not to be fair or to be nice but merely to be human and practical. Because difference is the reality of our world. And by teaching her about difference, you are equipping her to survive in a diverse world. She must know and understand that people walk different paths in the world and that as long as those paths do no harm to others, they are valid paths that she must respect. Teach her that we do not know – we cannot know – everything about life. Both religion and science have spaces for the things we do not know, and it is enough to make peace with that. Teach her never to universalise her own standards or experiences. Teach her that her standards are for her alone, and not for other people. This is the only necessary form of humility: the realisation that difference is normal.
...above all, let your focus be on remaining a full person. Take time for yourself. Nurture your own needs. Please do not think of it as 'doing it all'. Our culture celebrates the idea of women who are able to 'do it all' but does not question the premise of that praise. I have no interest in the debate about women doing it all because it is a debate that assumes that caregiving and domestic work are singularly female domains, and idea that I strongly reject. Domestic work and caregiving should be gender-neutral, and we should be asking not whether a woman can 'do it all' but how best to support parents in their dual duties at work and at home.
I am angry. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change. But I am also hopeful, because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to remake themselves for the better.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. If you are the breadwinner in your relationship with a man, pretend you are not, especially in public, otherwise you will emasculate him.' Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life's choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Marriage can be a good thing, a source of joy, love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage, yet we don't teach boys to do the same?We are all social beings. We internalize ideas from our socialization.
But by far the worst thing we do to males — by making them feel they have to be hard — is that we leave them with very fragile egos. The harder a man feels compelled to be, the weaker his ego is.
When you want to join a prestigious social club, do you wonder if your race will make it difficult to join? If you do well in a situation, do you expect to be called a credit to your race? Or to be described as different from the majority of your race? If you need legal or medical help, do you worry that your race might work against you? If you take a job with an affirmative action employer, do you worry that your co-workers will think that you are unqualified and were hired only because of your race? Do you worry that your children will not have books and school materials that are about people of their own race?
Ifemelu thought about the expression sweet girl. Sweet girl meant that, for a long time, Don had molded Ranyinudo into a malleable shape, or that she had allowed him to think he had.
But by far the worst thing we do to males--by making them feel they have to be hard--is that we leave them with very fragile egos. The harder a man feels compelled to be, the weaker his ego is.
And then we do a much greater disservice to girls, because we raise them to cater to the fragile egos of males.
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way boys are. If we have sons, we don’t mind knowing about their girlfriends. But our daughters’ boyfriends? God forbif. (But we of course expect them to bring home the perfect man for marriage when the time is right.)
We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way boys are. If we have sons, we don’t mind knowing about their girlfriends. But our daughters’ boyfriends? God forbid. (But we of course expect them to bring home the perfect man for marriage when the time is right.)
Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn't have the weight of gender expectations.
All over the world, there are so many magazine articles and books telling women what to do, how to be and not to be, in order to attract or please these men. There are far fewer guides for men about pleasing women.