Restless

I get eye rolls sometimes when I say that I am a feminist. Let your eye roll back and round again. I’ll still be a feminist.
At Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s talk at the Woman of the World festival, this feminist spoke with humour, with candidness and an unequivocal, unapologetic eloquent flow. If there were any eye rolls she would with a few precise, educated words – stop you in mid roll. I had read Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions prior to the talk and was happy to find that the content in her book was the content of many conversations I have had with friends over the years. Dear Ijeawele to me is a tool kit on how to raise your daughter in a way that sets her on solid ground. It gives a young girl literally the tools to equip herself with the big, bad world of sexism, misogyny, archaic, non-progression, etc, etc. Adichie’s book explains to your daughter, niece or sister that this big, bad world doesn’t need to be so if you know who you are: a strong woman with a mind, a heart and a soul. A woman who is taught “that the idea of ‘gender roles’ is absolute nonsense.” And “the knowledge of cooking does not come pre-installed in a vagina.” And – I could go on to quote the whole book.
Adichie’s book along with her talk at the WOW festival, makes me restless. It’s making me want to do more: get my voice out more. Get my work out more. All these conversations I’ve had on his very topic over the years have remained for so many of us just that – conversations. Equality, whether it’s about race or gender – makes up a lot of who I am, what I’m about. Having a son has made me think instantly that I want to raise him to understand women, to have conversations and take action when needed in support of feminism. He can identify as what he likes but for the most part, in society he will be checking the boxes which say African, black, British. He will have pressures as a man to earn money and be successful, show strength and not emotion. To be masculine and hard. He will have pressures from his Nigerian traditional grandmothers and aunties to marry a ‘good girl’, to provide a good home, drive a nice car. For me, I would want him, just like if I have a daughter – to be the best person that he can be. To be kind and understanding. To be humble and hardworking. 
I would hope that the restlessness that I have now, will develop into great works that will leave legacies for my son and future children. Automatically they would take on values that would pertain to an understanding of equality and equity. Fairness and kindness. I look at my son sleeping now and pray hard that I do right by him as a mother, a woman, a feminist. 

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