Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Speech On Feminism

Decent Essays
Commencement Address

What is feminism? Feminism has been accused of a lot of things throughout the years. It has been accused for being man-hating and inequality promoting, but is it really so? At it’s core feminism is not the hatred towards men, nor is it the hope of female supremacy. Feminism is the struggle for equality for all human beings, it is the belief that a woman should never limit herself because of her gender, and the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. The struggle for equality through feminism and the will and courage to follow your dreams while being yourself despite your gender are the main themes in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech to the students at the private liberal arts college, Wellesley
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With quotes like, “you are ridiculously lucky to graduating from this bastion of excellence and on these beautiful acres” , she manages to not only compliment the institution on which they are getting their education, she also gives the audience a promise that this speech will be positive, and maybe somewhat emotional. It is after this introduction she begins the subject of feminism. She tells the story of a man who demeaned her because of her gender. At this point one could except some sort of hate speech towards men, but Adichie does something else entirely. She promotes equality throughout the entire text. Her view on men is exactly as she thinks that men should view women, the wrong doings of one man has not corrupted her view on the entire gender, she says that, “I knew that men were not inherently bad or evil. They were merely privileged”. This shows a great deal of insight from Adichie, in this way she does not blame men for injustice, she blames privilege, this also shows her ability to use the logos appeal in her speech. Her argument that privilege blinds does not only apply to men, she …show more content…
The main theme of the text is equality, how everyone, men, women, straights and gays should be equal. That no man or woman should be treated in a certain way because of their gender or sexual orientation. One thing that is important to note is that she is not trying to take the femininity away from the girls. This is seen in quotes like, “The only acceptable way of wasting your time is online shopping” and “So I have not told this anecdote as a way to illustrate my discovery of gender injustice. If anything it’s really just an ode to makeup”. One could find it counter intuitive that she would promote things as makeup and shopping. It could be viewed as such because one could argue that it does not create equality between men and women but that it rather creates a gap between the feminine and the masculine. But maybe this is her point exactly. To tell the students that they should not be ashamed of their femininity and that there is a difference between men and women, but just because there is a difference there should still be equality for everyone. She promotes real equality by not degrading men nor women while still acknowledging the differences between the genders. This reference to makeup and shopping is also a tool to keep the listeners engaged through humour. She does however break away from a lot of the previously preconceived ideas about femininity and masculinity, “Teach your students to see that vulnerability is

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