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It is worth noting that changes in the life of society and the lives of women around the world are connected both directly and indirectly. Moreover, over the past decades, many values or approaches towards women and their role in the harmonious life of society have been fundamentally reinterpreted. It is important that in a sociocultural context, many researchers argued that female nature is formed by society, and modern theories of feminism testified that women should achieve not only political and legal equality, but also a revision of spiritual priorities in culture.
Consequently, the feminist way of thinking recognizes the gender dimension in worldview and intellectual and social activities. In her book “Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie provides insights into the ways parents can develop feminism in their daughters. The purpose of this paper is to make suggestions for raising a feminist that would expand the advice proposed by Adichie.
I would like to state that even though I fully support the suggestions offered by Adichie, it is essential that these assumptions are accepted and interpreted correctly. When considering the ways feminism can be raised in children, it is crucial to comprehend that girls should not be brought up with an understanding that women have been suffering for a long time and did not possess their essential rights. The references to the past and traumatic experience might bring inferiority complex or encourage young females to blame males for the sufferings. Thus, it is essential to help girls accept the fact that inequality used to exist but the present time is the best period to live a different life filled with opportunities and help others comprehend it as well.
One of the author’s statements is concluded to the idea that it is necessary to raise children with the understanding that there are no specific activities for girls and boys (Adichie 14). This advice can be expanded to include aspects of gender roles. Many children are taught gender roles that cause them to act in a certain way, encourage them to choose certain professions, or live based on specific postulates that apply to women but can be ignored by men or the reverse.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to educate children in such a way that they do not succumb to stereotyped thinking but confidently consider all the existing options. However, it is crucial to mention that children will still be growing in a society in which they can face pressure and stereotyped thinking that hypertrophies the difference between a man and a woman. Therefore, it is important to grow in the child the understanding that the opportunities of men and women are the same, and everyone can achieve results in different areas.
Another suggestion that I would like to make is related to the intellectual growth of a child. Interestingly, the division into two genders occurs in the early childhood, when girls and boys play different toys, they are dressed in different clothes; they are given stereotypical preferences in colors (boys are often dressed in blue, girls – in pink) and so on. Moreover, when a child grows older, girls are offered certain sports or leisure activities (for example, dancing or drawing, singing), and such activities as martial arts are more often attended by boys.
As a rule, a child may be ashamed to say what he or she wants to do in reality because it might knock him or her out of society. Consequently, the world of women and men is artificially divided while the actual interests are suppressed as well as the psyche of the child. In this regard, it is crucial to make a particular emphasis on the intelligence of a child and the ability for critical thinking along with sensory perception, so that the young person is guided by inner motivation rather than fears and stereotypes (Adichie 37). It is significant to show to the child that all the opportunities are available to him or her starting from activities that encompass the emotional component to politics, mathematics, and any activities that require reasoning and rational thinking.
Ideas on Marriage
Several suggestions made by Adichie are devoted to marriage and the attitude of girls to themselves. I support the statements made by the author that a woman should not perceive herself as a wife only and stop in her development when she has a husband and children. I would like to expand this proposal and note that it is necessary to not only maintain equality in relations and evolve as a person, as an employee, and so on, but also to see the potential in the partner for mutual enrichment and support (Adichie 30).
Both people should help each other in achieving their goals and enable to grow as a person. It is necessary to stimulate the best in the partner and exchange experiences that will be useful for both people. Consequently, the growth of feminism in girls will give way to mutual assistance and support in the family. Such relations will be characterized by the lack of pressure from the man to the woman or vice versa, and people will not strive to correct each other but will make plans for the future allowing one another to have personal space.
Suggestions about Raising Boys
However, since I am a single mother and bring up children of both genders, I would like to note that the development of feminism in girls is as important as in boys; otherwise, distortions in the perception of the world are inevitable. Because parents need to explain to their daughters that they are equal in rights with boys and can engage in any activity that attracts them, it is essential to bring this understanding to boys as well. It is crucial that by giving more opportunities to girls, boys also should be given a chance to engage in any business, feel the way they want, and understand that they are equal members of society and there is no such division into male and female prerogatives (Adichie 14). Thus, the role of women cannot be expanded if the roles of men do not expand in parallel with them. For children to realize their abilities fully, they should be able to follow their interests regardless of whether they are traditional or not.
Thus, my suggestion is that children should not be restricted in opportunities since all individuals want different things. Boys, in the same manner as girls, should help around the house, prepare meals with their parents, take care of themselves, and have the same responsibilities as their sisters do. Because women should be competent both at home and at work, the same rule should be applied in the upbringing of sons so that they understand both the existing opportunities and responsibilities. This approach to raising a feminist will help develop not only equality but also a thoughtful and respectful attitude towards each other.
Also, it is necessary to develop a sense of responsibility and justice in children of both sexes. If a child sees that someone is being teased or that someone allows him or herself sexist remarks or oppresses another person, then the child should intervene rather than justify this behavior by the fact that such manifestations are typical of a certain gender. Inappropriate behavior cannot be masculine or feminine; it is associated with the lack of upbringing and universal human values in the individual. Consequently, when raising both a boy and a girl, it is important to rely on common values and cultivate an adequate relation to these values in children.
Thus, it can be concluded that my proposals to expand Adichie’s suggestions can be reduced to the fact that it is necessary to encourage the rejection of artificially imposed roles in the child. The upbringing of both girls and boys should be equally significant and based on universal values. The choice of specific activities should be driven by the abilities of the child, and not gender. The ideas of freedom, self-sufficiency, financial independence, and individualism are also important for children of both sexes. Consequently, the elimination of gender stereotypes will make it possible to turn children into more free, harmonious, and self-sufficient individuals.
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions. HarperCollins, 2017.