Black Women Writers @ Southwestern University

An English / Feminist Studies / Race & Ethnicity Studies Course Blog

Don’t Buy into the Bullshit

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In the scene where Ifemelu and her friends are discussing old friends and who is getting married, Ifemelu notes that no matter how she tries to change the conversation, it always comes back to marriage. It is as if being married gives a woman worth. Which I’m sure they feel. Who doesn’t feel a sense of affirmation of existence or validation of worth when someone has vowed to love you forever and no one else? However it certainly should not be something people are fixated on or desperate for.

I found it sad that Priye is judging the success of her wedding by the amount of governors (esteemed, privileged, wealthy men) that attend her wedding. It did not matter if they were in a drug cartel business, or selling prostitutes in the black market, or actively using women as prostitutes. It only mattered that it gave the wedding significance.

“It shows you’re connected. It shows prestige,” she says.

In Adichie’s Ted Talk, she explains the ways that we as a society raise our children (male/female) very differently. To boys, we praise and teach confidence, masculinity, and entitlement. To girls we teach vulnerability, dignity, virginity, aka “mannerly” behaviors. Why shouldn’t we teach mannerly attributes to both? A man is praised for “nailing” a woman or more subtly for “landing a good woman–great cook, great mother, etc.. However women are discouraged from talking about boys or having sex, yet expected to find marriage quickly (and if not they are frowned upon for being loose).

“You marry the best man who can maintain you,” she says.

Typical notion of a woman being represented as inferior, subordinate, etc. This struck me as memorable because so often we (women) overlook sexist situations. At times we may complain, but too often we perpetuate it. Inherently, this is not merely a “men” issue. It’s a society issue. We must refuse to perpetuate our own oppression!

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One thought on “Don’t Buy into the Bullshit

  1. When she was speaking of these things in her Ted Talk I started laughing out loud because it made me think of when men (most girls dads) will say things like, “you can’t date until you’re married”. Even though most fathers are kidding, they really aren’t and I feel that this is the way society thinks now, along with the men. I feel like this is kinda what she is talking about, too.

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