Dear Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,
In 2013, I took the conscious decision to become a feminist. Now I know that sounds strange but hear me out. I had struggled for years and had been on the brink of wanting to be a feminist but not caring what happened to other women because it wasn’t happening to me. After having a huge argument about women’s rights with a man who just didn’t want to get it I realised that I did actually care and my attitude that said otherwise was only setting me back.
As with anything that I set my mind to my first step is usually good old Google. That is where I started. I Googled everything from ‘How to be a good feminist’ to ‘Am I a good enough feminist’. I ended up on pages where profound pieces had been written but then the comments section was filled with hate.
Did I really want to be a part of this society where women were ostracised for speaking out on rights that they had a legitimate claim to? I mean, I am already black, and that is a struggle in itself. I felt despondent and reluctant to talk openly about this little bit of feminism that I had found within me.
About a year later it all changed when one day I fell into a YouTube black hole of endless videos. The one video was yours. You said that “We should all be feminists” and I had to stop and listen. 30 minutes later I felt renewed. I knew that this was the turning point in my feminist walk.
The most important part to me was when you said,
“A Nigerian acquaintance once asked me if I was worried that men would be intimidated by me. I was not worried at all. In fact, it had not occurred to me to be worried because a man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the kind of man I would have no interest in.”
And that is exactly where I knew my problem lay. I was scared that if I became too feminist. If I became too strong willed. If I became too opinionated that no man would find me attractive.
Through your speech, I made many choices. One of them I live by every single day. The key to being feminist for me is that I want all women to have the right to choose anything that they could possibly want to choose EVEN if the choices that they want to make may not necessarily be the choices that I would personally make.
So I want to thank you. We were born in the same month and I am certain that our age difference wouldn’t have an impact on what could be a beautiful friendship. Your 38 years of life have had great influence and I cannot wait to read and listen to everything else you write.
From one smiling feminist to another,
Written by Hulisani Khorombi, Staff Writer, #mygirlsquad