In her usual style, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie just dropped some awesome feminist knowledge.
In a speech given at Wellesley College’s Commencement ceremony on May 29, the award-winning author discussed feminism, male privilege and daring to speak your mind.
Adichie said that she understood from a young age that the world did not cater to women they way it does men. She knew “that men were not inherently bad or evil. They were merely privileged. And I knew that privilege blinds because it is the nature of privilege to blind.”
She told the crowd of recent graduates that they too now hold a certain privilege after graduating from the prestigious women’s college. “No matter what your background. That degree, and the experience of being here, is a privilege,” she said. “Don’t let it blind you too often. Sometimes you will need to push it aside in order to see clearly.”
The 37-year-old went on to give life advice to inspire minds and motivate action, telling the audience: “I urge you to try and create the world you want to live in… Minister to the world in a way that can change it. Minister radically in a real, active, practical, get-your-hands-dirty way.“
She continued, listing a number of ways in which the recent grads can take the real world by storm:
“Write television shows in which female strength is not depicted as remarkable but merely normal. Teach your students to see that vulnerability is a human rather than a female trait.“
“Commission magazine articles that teach men how to keep a woman happy. Because there are already too many articles that tell women how to keep a man happy.”
“Campaign and agitate for paid paternity leave everywhere in America.“
“Hire more women where there are few. But remember that a woman you hire doesn’t have to be exceptionally good. Like a majority of the men who get hired, she just needs to be good enough.”
Adichie reminded the audience that feminism really is for everybody. “Feminism should be an inclusive party. Feminism should be a party full of different feminisms,” she said, adding, “And so, class of 2015, please go out there and make feminism a big, raucous, inclusive party.”
She concluded the address on a beautiful and poignant note, telling the young women that the most important thing in the world is love — but remembering to give love and take love is key. “Now girls are often raised to see love only as giving. Women are praised for their love when that love is an act of giving. But to love is to give and to take,” she said. “Please love by giving and by taking. Give and be given. If you are only giving and not taking, you’ll know. You’ll know from that small and true voice inside you that we females are so often socialized to silence.”
Adichie finished her speech, telling the crowd: “Don’t silence that voice. Dare to take.”
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