Gender Roles Are Harmful And How Important It Is

1739 WordsDec 12, 20157 Pages
Gender roles govern the way that most of the world’s population interact with one another. Many African cultures uphold deeply patriarchal gender roles which dictate how women and men interact with one another. Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, a staunch feminist, gives readers a look into Nigerian gender roles in her short story Birdsong. Her writing in Birdsong and her TEDtalks explore and expose how these gender roles are harmful and how important it is for many stories of young women of color to be heard. Birdsong is centered on a young woman working in Lagos, Nigeria. She is one of few women working in her office and she differs from them greatly. While her coworkers are overly religious and focused on finding husbands, she rebels against these norms and begins an affair with a married man. The theme of marriage is obviously a topic that Adichie deems important to the perpetuation of patriarchy in Nigerian society. In her 2012 TEDtalk title “We Should All Be feminists”, Adichie says “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 good thing. It 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?” (Adichie 2013) Throughout the story we see the protagonist struggle with the gender roles placed upon her by her society; specifically the role she is supposed to play as

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