“There Are Ways To Have Conversations On Feminism Without Being Argumentative” -Lessons We Learnt From #ConversationsWithChimamanda Adichie.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, definitely needs no introduction. Apart from being an award winning writer and a literary muse to many, she is also a thought leader and highly reputed for her feminist views.

Over the weekend, we sat down with Chimamanda at #ConversationsWithChimamanda, an event hosted by Narrative landscape in partnership with Workstation. As well as glean life lessons from her feminist thinking, we also got clarity on issues like chivalry, fashion, writing and authenticity.

The many lessons we learned, are detailed below:

For The Aspiring Writers

  • Read, read, read.
  • Find a truth teller who loves you.
  • Keep pushing because rejection will come.
  • Understand that the creative process is never easy. You will doubt yourself more times than you can count and rather than run away from it, embrace it.
  • Also understand that 100% belief in your writing is not going to happen overnight, because once you believe you are ‘that good’, you become smug, and when you become smug, you begin to lose it.

On Self-Care

  • Self-care comes in different forms. Having a solid support system of friends and family is one, shutting out the noise on the outside is another. According to her, “self-care is online shoe shopping, distancing myself from Nigeria,eating lots and lots of chocolates.”

On Feminism and Authenticity 

  • There is no one way to have the feminist conversation. To do that, will be  reductionist.
  • We must devise several ways to reach several people. Storytelling, using real life examples are ways of having a feminist conversation.
  • There are ways to have conversations on feminism without being argumentative.
  • Feminism is good for men, however they should not try to own our story.
  • Being feminist doesn’t mean I will not marry. It means that I get to decide who I will marry and when I will marry.
  • The knowledge of cooking doesn’t come in a vagina, let’s stop shaming a woman for her inability to cook.
  • Gender should not be used to justify human abilities.
  • Context always matters.
  • Gender injustice thrives on context.
  • We should rethink the way marriages are done.
  • A woman’s inability to cook is not a moral failure.
  • Holding doors for people is a good thing but we if we must hold doors, let’s not do it because of a persons gender
  • Being different should be normal.

On Holding Multiple Interests

  • You must find a way to make your dreams happen. Nigeria is a difficult country for a creative to exist but you rise above the difficulty, you must be tougher.
  • Do extra for your creativity.
  • For multipotentialites, not all creative pursuits are to be pursued, some are to compliment the other.

On Authenticity And Life

  • There is a resistance to change common to everyone, especially when the status quo favors you.
  • Love stories doesn’t have to be perfect.
  • Talents exists everywhere, no one person/group has a monopoly of talent.
  • Pop culture can play a role in spotlighting conversations that are Important.
  • Mindset matters because it trickles down into other things in life.
  • If you want people to pay for what you believe, you need to value your art.
  • Authenticity matters. Being yourself and staying true to who you are is always always a good thing.

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