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“I decided to use fashion as a kind of political statement”- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on wearing mostly Nigerian Brands

BellaNaija.com

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Acclaimed writer and feminist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was recently featured in i-D Magazine’s The Earthwise issue where she spoke lengthily with Candice Carty-Williams on choosing a writing career over medicine, the union of culture and fashion and the birth of her feminist views. The writer confirms fashion for her is a political statement.

Read excerpts below:

On taking up a writing career despite studying Medicine and Pharmacy: “It’s the thing that gives meaning to my life, really. I have the good fortune to be published widely, to be read, but if I didn’t have that good fortune, I would still be writing, because it matters so deeply”.

On Feminism in Nigeria: “I should say, in Nigeria, there’s a lot of hostility around feminism. This is from both men and women. So by taking on a public case of feminism, the response is always combative, and there’s a refusal to engage. With that said, there’s a young man, not yet a father, who just got married, who said to me that it was so important for him to read that book because it’s made him think about the kind of father he wants to be. Though of course, I’ve heard of men who have said, ‘How dare you tell us? You now want us to become women. You just say nothing to that. You move on.”

On Fashion and culture: “When I first started writing, I pretended not to like fashion, because I wanted to be taken seriously. I decided to use fashion as a kind of political statement. Which is to say that I made the choice to wear mostly Nigerian designers to public events, because obviously, I want to support an industry that’s full of talent, but also to make a case for how fashion can tell a story. Fashion and culture are intertwined in very interesting ways.”

Read the full interview.

Photography: @rebekahcampbell.

8 Comments

  1. Nwunye Tobi

    August 30, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Chimamanda i am still waiting for ya wedding pics. Show us naaa, show us biko. What did you wear?? How did you wear it?? What of ya hair?? How did you do it?? Show us jor, show us biko.

  2. gbaskelebo

    August 30, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    When I hear people that are feminist that never addressed themselves as one speak through their writings and also tell a story based on experience and lessons I respect them, I respect people like Mariama Ba and Buchi Emechetta, yes I see from their stories their wishes and to balance the narrative, but when you begin to question every norm to fit a particular idea so presented now and seemingly lopsided in itself I question your narrative based on your experience. My apologies in saying you do not fit that category, you cant really wear that badge as one. Sisterly stay off the lane you are on, it is a very dangerous path, also you are leading a flock of intelligent but unwise ladies who do not yet understand the basis of the struggle (I doubt if you do). Speak about Education of the girl child concentrate on the northern part of the country! if you must, advocate for proper education be an activist for that social reform, ever heard of Buni Yadi? not one male was spared,yet chibok and dapchi girls are alive, we talk about rights, you think the women are worse off? think again! Unto second base tinz joor!

    • anony

      August 30, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Thank you. I am sick and tired of Chimamanda and her unncessary rants, to be honest. She needs to address problem areas… how many times has she carried a placard addressing issues like education, rape and so on. Like you said, sadly she is leading a bunch of unwise ladies who forget that their strength actually lies in being a WOMAN not in a man/woman holding or not holding the door.

      I am woman and I believe that both men and women have different roles to play in the society… that is what works…. not a woman being at par with a man or a man being at par with a woman. I am woman, I delight in the strength I am given, to build a home, to raise amazing children, to breastfeed, to carry a child… to be submissive to my husband(of course with him loving), have a man open the door to me. I am not equal to a man, not because I’m a womanbut because a man has his own role to play in the society, so do I.

    • Kkay

      August 30, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      @gbaskelebo, put your own advice to action. You know what to do, where and how. You stay out of another person’s lane. Chimamanda is doing what she is convinced is right and passionate about. You don’t have to agree with her totally or in part. Now, that’s where maturity comes in.
      I believe in the equality of rights of both sexes – same opportunities and all.

  3. Baybie

    August 30, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Lovely photos Ms! Still waiting to see you do something ‘major’ for women beyond your books.

  4. Engoz

    August 30, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    BN lemme give you small traffic today, lmao.

    Nigerian men dominate all leadership institutions in this country. Approximately 95% of government and political institutions are dominated by men. Religion and cultural institutions are primarily headed and dominated by Nigerian men. Do not be swayed by the intellectual fraud that uses the ‘what about the suffering man angle’ to deviate the conversations as to why there was/is a strategic attempt to dehumanize womanhood. If INDEED they are interested in curtailing the mind blowing HAVOC their patriarchy has caused, they will change it by the reason of being accessible to all power structures in Nigeria. NEVER FORGET THIS! They will NOT change it, because it favors them in the short and long run. Their benefits outweighs the risks. So why should they change it? Lmao. It is for this fraudulence AND undebatable reason, I will continuously agitate for womanhood (not even ‘women’ issues, but appropriately the state of womanhood) only issues from the microscopic to the macroscopic. Every damn thing will be critically analyzed. I have the insurmountable energy and intellect to do so. Anything, culture, religion, government that attacks, disrespects, dishonors the state of womanhood will be destroyed.

    • Arianna

      August 31, 2018 at 7:16 am

      well said @Engoz. It’s so sad to see that many men’s default position is to see feminism as an attack on them when it is only women wanting equal opportunities. What makes the whole thing even worse are the women who agree with these men because they don’t want to be seen as stubborn or difficult. Based on a comment above, I think that some women equate differences between sexes with unequal rights which makes absolutely no sense but then again this is Nigeria that we are speaking of, patriarchy has eaten so deep into the society that a woman risks social suicide just by being a feminist.

  5. Nnenne

    August 30, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    @ Engoz…You forgot t to mention that more girls stay in school these days, yet these jobs that matter go to men.

    Love you to the moon and back, Chimamanda!

    We are all socialized differently.Even when Slaves were looking for emancipation. Some of them were kicking against it
    When you have been abused for so long, it becomes a new norm.

    ..

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