Studies suggest that today only 16 percent of men and 23 percent of women are feminists (Shire). Feminism refers to a distant range of ideas and approaches towards advocating for equality.
In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech, We Should All Be Feminists, she described what feminism meant to her as well as how feminism, or lack thereof, affects society. Adichie refutes the negative connotation of feminism in a humorous yet controversial way by giving personal examples of first-hand experiences with gender inequality. In Adichie’s speech, her main goal is to eliminate the horrid meaning the word feminism has and focus on how the idea can alleviate various inequalities. In today’s world, everyone should be feminists because it will make for an equal society. With feminism, both men and women would have equal respect.
As Adichie stated in her speech “We use the word ‘respect’ to mean something a woman shows a man, but not often something a man shows a woman (Adichie).” She explained how there is an obvious imbalance in terms of respect. A woman should not have to be a man to be able to walk down the street and not worry about being assaulted. A woman should not have to be accompanied by a man to be greeted by a waiter in a restaurant. Adichie explained how if a Nigerian woman were to walk into a hotel alone, she would automatically be presumed as a sex worker (Adichie). Imagine how it feels to be a woman in society, and having to be constantly aware of one’s surroundings. Because society should be a safe haven for all individuals, the grave thought of it being the opposite for women is simply sickening.
If we have feminism embedded into our society, these are the things that men and women would be fighting for. Feminism will put an end to gender role assumptions that place expectations on how men and women should act and live. Many individuals who are against feminism are typically against it because of a miscommunication in the definition. A woman can be a feminist while simultaneously being a stay at home mother. Feminists believe that people should not be viewed by strength and capabilities assumed by genders, but by individual strengths and capabilities. However, the sad reality is that these preconceived gender roles in society are deeply rooted as apart of a person’s morals. For example, if a woman were to open the door for another it would be considered as a simple common courtesy.
However, a man is expected to do so and if he does not he looks as if he was not raised correctly, or has no morals. Feminists want both women and men to choose their own roles; whether it be staying at home cooking and cleaning, holding a high position in a career, or even both.