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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

25 of the best book quotes from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  1. #1
    “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.”
  2. #2
    “I looked the word up in the dictionary, it said: Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. My great-grandmother, from stories I’ve heard, was a feminist. She ran away from the house of the man she did not want to marry and married the man of her choice. She refused, protested, spoke up when she felt she was being deprived of land and access because she was female. She did not know that word feminist. But it doesn’t mean she wasn’t one. More of us should reclaim that word. The best feminist I know is my brother Kene, who is also a kind, good-looking, and very masculine young man.”
  3. #3
    “I am trying to unlearn many lessons of gender I internalized while growing up. But I sometimes still feel vulnerable in the face of gender expectations.”
  4. #4
    “The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are.”
  5. #5
    “Our society teaches a woman at a certain age who is unmarried to see it as a deep personal failure. While a man at a certain age who is unmarried has not quite come around to making his pick. It is easy to say, ‘But women can just say no to all this.’ But the reality is more difficult, more complex. We are all social beings. We internalize ideas from our socialization.”
  6. #6
    “Why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage, yet we don’t teach boys to do the same?”
  7. #7
    “Gender matters everywhere in the world. And I would like today to ask that we should begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how we start: we must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently.”
  8. #8
    “We spend too much time teaching girls to worry about what boys think of them. But the reverse is not the case. We don’t teach boys to care about being likeable.”
  9. #9
    “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.”
  10. #10
    “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 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 will threaten the man. If you are the breadwinner in your relationship with a man, pretend that you are not, especially in public, otherwise you will emasculate him.”
  11. #11
    “I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.”
  12. #12
    “‘You know, you’re a feminist.’ It was not a compliment. I could tell from his tone—the same tone with which a person would say, ‘You’re a supporter of terrorism.‘”
  13. #13
    “Some people ask: ‘Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?’ Because that would be ... a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.”
  14. #14
    “What struck me – with her and with many other female American friends I have – is how invested they are in being ‘liked’. How they have been raised to believe that their being likeable is very important and that this ‘likeable’ trait is a specific thing. And that specific thing does not include showing anger or being aggressive or disagreeing too loudly.”
  15. #15
    “Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage.”
  16. #16
    “Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice. I am angry. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change.”
  17. #17
    “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.”
  18. #18
    “I often make the mistake of thinking that something that is obvious to me is just as obvious to everyone else.”
  19. #19
    “My own definition is a feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.”
  20. #20
    “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.”
  21. #21
    “We police girls. We praise girls for virginity but we don’t praise boys for virginity (and it makes me wonder how exactly this is supposed to work out, since the loss of virginity is a process that usually involves two people of the opposite genders).”
  22. #22
    “We teach girls shame. ‘Close your legs. Cover yourself.’ We make them feel as though being born female they’re already guilty of something. And so, girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. They grow up to be women who silence themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think. And they grow up — and this is the worst thing we do to girls — they grow up to be women who have turned pretense into an art form.”
  23. #23
    “We teach females that in relationships, compromise is what a woman is more likely to do.”
  24. #24
    “Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice. 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.”
  25. #25
    “What if, in raising children, we focus on ability instead of gender? What if we focus on interest instead of gender?”
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