Flawlessly Feminist: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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As the new face for the Boots No7 make-up range, the critically acclaimed Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has served us a reminder that being an intellectual, high-achieving woman and caring about your appearance are not mutually exclusive.

First receiving media attention through her award winning novels ‘Half a Yellow Sun” and “Americanah” (among others), she has continued to make waves and handing out much needed wake-up calls on a consistent basis. From her celebrated TED talks that have been viewed by millions of people and quoted from Beyonce to the house of Dior, to being officially crowned as an icon of modern feminism by the equality loving government of Sweden (every 16 year old boy was given a copy of her “We Should All Be Feminists” essay),  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie continues breaking stereotypical societal perceptions of working women and the ‘superficial’ world of fashion and beauty.
“I had learned a lesson about Western culture: Women who wanted to be taken seriously were supposed to substantiate their seriousness with a studied indifference to appearance.” 
Upon arrival in America, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie initially hid her love of heels, beautiful clothing and make-up in fear of not being taken “seriously”. But with age and recognition has come wisdom and self-acceptance: women can be serious and all the while seriously enjoy fashion and beauty.
Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieHer outspokenness to empower and encourage women to express their true selves unapologetically is a call for arms which is resonating with many across the world: after all, are we really fighting for equality if me must suppress our individuality in our new roles as so called empowered women? Is this true empowerment?

This year, she was invited to sit in the front row during the Paris Fashion Week at the Dior SS17 show where her well known essay title “We Should All Be Feminists” was printed in large bold letters across t-shirts on the runway. The person responsible for this recognition of Adichie: Dior’s newly appointed creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri. This celebration by one woman of another was a poignant moment in fashion history: Chiuri after all is the first woman to ever hold this high a position at the legendary fashion house (which ironically caters mostly to women). 

In the No7 ad she points out that “Our culture teaches us that if a woman wants to be taken seriously, then she should not care too much about her appearance”. As women we very often feel as though we have to choose between our love for fashion and our love for our work, if ever you come to that cross road just remember the lesson from Chimamanda: you can be a woman at the top of her game and unapologetically look flawless while doing it.

Golden Nuggets

"Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in."

"The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations."

"Some people ask: 'Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?' Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general - but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women. That the problem was not about being human, but specifically about being a female human. For centuries, the world divided human beings into two groups and then proceeded to exclude and oppress one group. It is only fair that the solution to the problem acknowledge that."


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