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Beyonce’s Feminism Is Different from Mine – Chimamanda Adichie

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Nigeria’s award-winning novelist Chimamanda Adichie,  has a hard time deflecting one question she gets the most during interviews – about Beyonce. It would be recalled that the singer (Beyonce) sampled from one of Adichie’s TED talks in the song “Flawless,” released three years ago.

“I was shocked about how many requests for an interview I received when that song was released. Literally every major newspaper in the world wanted to speak with me about Beyonce. I felt such resentment,” Chimamanda told the Dutch daily de Volkskrant in an interview about the upcoming Dutch translation of the essay version of her speech “We should all be feminists.”

In the song, snippets of Chimamanda delivering her TED talk in 2013 are played between verses. In the music video (around 1:25) Beyonce dances and glares at the camera as Chimamanda says, “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, ‘You can have ambition, but not too much.’”

Chimamanda claimed that she admires the pop star, but has always rebuffed the notion that that the song marked beginning of her career.

“I thought: I am a writer and I have been for some time and I refuse to perform in this charade that is now apparently expected of me: ‘Thanks to Beyonce, my life will never be the same again.’ That’s why I didn’t speak about it much,” she told the paper.

In her interview with de Volkskrant, Chimamanda praised Beyonce for taking a stand on social and political issues over the last few years, but she also questions the kind of feminism that Beyonce promotes.

She admitted, “[Beyonce’s] style is not my style.” She continued:

…Her type of feminism is not mine, as it is the kind that, at the same time, gives quite a lot of space to the necessity of men. I think men are lovely, but I don’t think that women should relate everything they do to men. Did he hurt me? Do I forgive him? Did he put a ring on my finger? We women are so conditioned to relate everything to men.

Put a group of women together and the conversation will eventually be about men. Put a group of men together and they will not talk about women at all, they will just talk about their own stuff. We women should spend about 20% of our time on men, because it’s fun, but otherwise we should also be talking about our own stuff.

 

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