Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally.

If there’s any writer who can write hard-hitting essays as persuasively and compellingly as novels and short stories and make them utterly readable it is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. To say, I have read all her work would be an understatement. I have devoured each one of her work and cannot quite point which one I like the best; hence it was natural that I added Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions to my Chimamanda collection.

This book is a quick read with 15 actionable steps to raise a strong and empowered daughter. It shines with Chimamanda’s characteristic warmth and forthrightness but is deeply personal. According to Chimamanda, her friend Ijeawele wrote to ask how she should bring her baby daughter up a feminist, and in response, after the right hesitations – “it felt like too huge a task”– Adichie made this list of 15 suggestions.

I would say that this book should be an essential read to women (and men) everywhere and not just mums with girls—because it would help us to develop more empathy and fine tune our mind on how patriarchy catches up—often unaware. And yes it would help us to raise stronger girls and wiser boys.

For eons, women (and men) have been taught how we need to behave. Girls should be softer and men should be more aggressive. And no matter what women have been taught to be more likable (or risk being tagged Nasty woman, cue Hillary V/S Trump). But this book helps us to identify these unconscious biases and give it a massive f*** you. It also tells us how to defy the societal norms and standards to become your own person.

I wrote about the infamous Nasty Woman episode, a few lines ago. Why? One of the advice in the book is to reject likeability. Easier said than done, I painfully learn even now. I have never been the cool, popular kid, never been the one to succumb to peer pressure and in the face have rejected likeability but even today in moments of honest introspection—I often wonder if I am liked enough by my set of girlfriends, my colleagues, even my family for that matter. See, how unconsciously these societal standards affect us?

Human beings are cultural beings, consistently shaped by ideas and values around us. Throughout history and even in art and culture, we see likeability a major factor (especially for women). Women are unconsciously raised to become people-pleaser. And we need to stop doing this to ourselves and our future generation because as another wise woman said, “Well-behaved women, rarely made history”. 

The other suggestions in the book– about marriage, motherhood, and reading  as well as the often told ‘because you are a girl’, is never a reason for anything” also make equal sense and they all come with personal anecdotes.

I repeat this book is an essential and urgent read. Why? Because to raise feminist daughters (or sons), mothers must take pleasure and pride in their own achievements, follow both the challenges and delights of life and give themselves room to fail. Because ultimately, as Adichie writes, children must be raised to be full people. 

” It takes balls to be a woman”

Ever since, I can remember I have battled with this idea: can I call myself a feminist despite loving all things fashionable? Do not get me wrong but there are umpteen misconceptions surrounding both these topics. In my case, from being told that I am “too pretty” for serious journalism (or anything serious) to being told that feminists are a bunch of ugly, man-hating, bra-burning women, has created a minefield of confusion. Both notions are, for lack of a better word, wrong!

Today’s International women’s day and I would like to put all doubts to rest. Feminism is about equality in every sphere of life: personal, professional and social. And this might surprise some: feminists come in all forms and like all things awesome cannot be put in a single box. They are big, small, working and home-makers. They are strong, they build each other–women and men and they can love or hate fashion. They can like me have particular affinity for pink and still have a mind of their own:a case I am trying to prove here in this fuchsia prom dress.

I wore this for my birthday (which I celebrated in Tenerife, more on that later). With a deep V-neck and proper A line skirt; it is exactly thing you would want to wear when you are growing older.

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With its spiffy butterfly motifs, velvety touch and jacquard skirt it spells sophistication and old-world charm. Hence, I decided to pair with minimum accessories. A crystal bracelet, swarvoski rings and dangling earrings.

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Dress: Debenhams, Footwear: New Look, Earrings: Wish app, Bracelet+Rings: Swarvoski

Whilst I love heels, here I have opted for lace-up flats because I am a bit of a badass who likes to shake things up (and also running behind a toddler with a mind of her own is aa exercise in itself). It is the kind of look that’s bold, unique and with a dollop of charm (just like most women I know).

And if you have any doubt about the awesomeness of women, here is a humbling thought: even at chromosomal level men need one of our fabulous X chromosome to their Y one just to exist. Hence dear women, whether fashion loving or not, go on be fearless.

We owe it ourselves.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a great week ahead and don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.