Powerful Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes on Feminism and Life in General

Compilations of the most Powerful Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie quotes.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer who has published novels, short stories. The Times called her “the most prominent” of a “procession of critically acclaimed young Anglophone authors who are succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature.”

Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and Americanah, as well as the short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck and We Should All Be Feminists, are among Adichie’s works. 

Dear Ijeawele: A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions (2017), Zikora (2020), and Notes on Grief are her most recent novels.

She was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant in 2008, and in 2018, she was the recipient of  the PEN Pinter Prize.

40 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Quotes

  1. “The only reason race matters is because of racism.”

2. “The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are.”

3. “Never speak of marriage as an achievement.”

4. “For me, feminism is a movement for which the end goal is to make itself no longer needed.”

5. “I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.”

6. “We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change.”

7. “Racism should never have happened and so you don’t get a cookie for reducing it.”

8. “Never ever accept ‘because you are a woman’ as a reason for doing or not doing anything.”

9. “Feminism for me is not an exclusive little party that you get to go to when you’ve read the right books.”

10. “Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie quotes

11. “I am interested in challenging the mainstream ideas of what is beautiful and what is acceptable.”

12. “You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man. Do you hear me?” Aunty Ifeka said. “Your life belongs to you and you alone.”

13. “Women need to know that they matter. They matter equally.”

14. “Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.”

15. “We teach girls shame. ‘Close your legs. Cover yourself.’ We make them feel as though being born female they’re already guilty of something.”

16. “Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.”

17. “I find that I’m lonely in my rage about sexism. And that loneliness informs my rage.”

18. “The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.”

19. “I know I’m able to have empathy for men who have been assaulted, who’ve suffered. I don’t need to imagine that they’re my brother or my husband.”

20. “We spend too much time teaching girls to worry about what boys think of them. But the reverse is not the case. We don’t teach boys to care about being likable. We spend too much time telling girls that they cannot be angry or aggressive or tough, which is bad enough, but then we turn around and either praise or excuse men for the same reasons. All over the world, there are so many magazine articles and books telling women what to do, how to be and not to be, in order to attract or please men. There are far fewer guides for men about pleasing women.”

21. “I write from real life. I am an unrepentant eavesdropper and a collector of stories. I record bits of overheard dialogue.”

23. “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”

24. “There are people who dislike you because you do not dislike yourself.”

25. “To choose to write is to reject silence.”

26. “I often think that people who write a lot about poverty need to go and spend more time with poor people.”

27. “I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.”

28. “A woman at a certain age who is unmarried, our society teaches her to see it as a deep personal failure. And a man, after a certain age isn’t married, we just think he hasn’t come around to making his pick.”

29. “For progress to be made, I think it’s necessary to reach out to people who don’t necessarily agree.”

30. “My own definition is a feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.”

31. “I think people are frightened of saying what they think, and I think that’s a bad thing for society.”

32. “I recently spoke at a university where a student told me it was such a shame that Nigerian men were physical abusers like the father character in my novel. I told him that I had recently read a novel called American Psycho,and that it was a shame that young Americans were serial murderers.”

33. “How can we resist exploitation if we don’t have the tools to understand exploitation.”

34. “There are some things that are so unforgivable that they make other things easily forgivable.”

35. “For progress to be made, I think it’s necessary to reach out to people who don’t necessarily agree.”

36. “Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

37. “The idea that sex is something a woman gives a man, and she loses something when she does that, which again for me is nonsense. I want us to raise girls differently where boys and girls start to see sexuality as something that they own, rather than something that a boy takes from a girl.”

38. “If I were not African, I wonder whether it would be clear to me that Africa is a place where the people do not need limp gifts of fish but sturdy fishing rods and fair access to the pond. I wonder whether I would realize that while African nations have a failure of leadership, they also have dynamic people with agency and voices.”

39. The best novels are those that are important without being like medicine; they have something to say, are expansive and intelligent but never forget to be entertaining and to have character and emotion at their centre.

40. Nigerian politics has been, since the military dictatorships, largely non-ideological. Rather than a battle of ideas, it is about who can pump in the most money and buy the most access.

My favorite Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie quotes are, “To choose to write is to reject silence.” and “Never speak of marriage as an achievement.”

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