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(Blog Post #2) “We Should All Be Feminists” and Gilman

I don’t know about any of you, but Beyonce is my girl. I love listening to her music. Her newest album, titled “Yonce”, features a couple of songs that are all about women kicking some major tail and being independent. I fell in love with one of the songs called, “Flawless.” At face value, it’s one of those songs that makes you feel like you could take on the world if you wanted to — like you’re the most bad ass person in the room. (If you ever need an ego boost, trust me. Just listen to it.) Half way through the song, I noticed that Beyonce had sampled a speech on feminism:

“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.’ 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 for accomplishments (which I think can be a good thing), but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they can not be sexual beings in the way that boys are. Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.”

At first, I was startled, because I wasn’t expecting to hear a speech like this in the middle of a hip-hop song. Who WAS this brilliant woman? I had to find out for myself. So, I did what any other curious college student did: I went on Google. I searched for “Beyonce Flawless speech”. Sure enough, I found what I was looking for. Beyonce had used a short sequence of a speech given by Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, called “We Should All Be Feminists.” The speech is 30 minutes long, but in all honesty, it’s worth the listen if you have the time. Adichie is a brilliant woman and an excellent orator. She really touches on all the points that Gilman makes, in regards to her standpoints on the unequal division of labor and gender socialization. What’s so remarkable about Gilman is that her ideology was WAY ahead of its time. Over a 100 years have passed, and her work is still relevant today. Perhaps that just goes to show you that although women have come a long way, we still have a long way to go. And the only way to go, is up, because those glass ceilings won’t be an obstacle anymore.

Stay flawless, ladies.

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8 responses to “(Blog Post #2) “We Should All Be Feminists” and Gilman

  1. Comment#8)Wow! This was amazing! I enjoyed your blog. The Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is truly brilliant. I enjoyed her speech it was worth listening. I strongly agree with you that “Gilman makes, her standpoints on the unequal division of labor and gender socialization.” Honestly, its true “Over a 100 years have passed, and her work is still relevant today” and women have come a long way and have grown intellectually, socially, psychologically, and morally.

    • Hahaha thank you! I’m so glad you took the time to listen to her speech. I think Adichie is such an inspiration to not only Americans like us, but most importantly, to her fellow Nigerians. She really broke the mold. If it hadn’t been for Beyonce, I don’t know if I would have discovered her on my own. We need more artists like Beyonce that are conscious of the real and present struggles for women. #QueenBey #BowDown

  2. I love her! She literally covers every aspect of gender differences and issues. I honestly didn’t think i would listen to the whole thing, but i did. She kept my attention throughout it all. I agree with her that all we should be raising our children in terms of ability and not gender. Yes, men and women will inevitably never be equal, and i don’t think that our goal as women should be to reach equality with men but simply to fulfill our highest potential.

    Again, I love Chimamanda’s speech. She made me feel empowered!
    Now, i shall go listen to Flawless…

  3. This speech is absolutely incredible! For my Comparative lit class last semester, i remember reading two of her books called Half of a Yellow Sun and the Thing Around Your Neck and it was to say the least very empowering. Chimamanda usually focuses on the feminism in Nigeria but one thing i can say about her writing is that the way she expresses Feminism can relate to every MAN and WOMAN in the world. Even in this speech, Chimamanda is simply retelling some simple things that she has encountered, and clearly from the audience reaction her manner is relaxed and even humorous but the depth that the stories hold are still there. Anyone can say we should all be feminists but Chimamanda’s idea that we should all be feminists, isn’t a way of putting men down but instead holding women to higher power. She goes on to say how the problem is “gender expectations prescribes how we should be rather than what we are.” I for one think that the idea of a feminist has been so misconstrued and twisted over time that its has 100 different connotation mostly negative but clearly, Chimamanda has redefined in a way that anyone can be one, man and woman and you don’t have to be protesting and growing out your hair for it.

    • I agree with you 100%. Feminism isn’t about hating men, burning bras, pixie cuts, and lesbians. Feminism is all about equality for everyone. Like Chimamanda states, “Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” I hate that there are certain women out there who have turned that word into something completely opposite. I’ve even been told, “I’m surprised you’re a feminist. You’re such a girlie girl.” I have 2 things wrong with that.

      1) I’m not
      2) Apparently, I missed the memo that there aren’t any feminists who look like me! Haha

  4. Yes! Isn’t it crazy how there is actually a stigma (GOFFMAN, LOL) for feminists. Its so stupid. But thank god for people like Chimamanda that tries to break these walls down.

  5. Im so happy that you posted Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speach. I really did hear the similarities about what she had to say and what Gilman spoke about so many years prior. It true that women are still fighting for equal rights. One aspect of this is in education. I have done extensive research about women and education and how it is still hindering women. It is mind boggling that it is 2014 and although women have come very far, this is still a really long way to go.,

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