"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," Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. ((Photo Credit: Chloe Mintz/ Achona Online/ Adobe Spark))
"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," Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

(Photo Credit: Chloe Mintz/ Achona Online/ Adobe Spark)

An Open-Letter to Young Women

March 30, 2020

Dear young woman, 

Perhaps I do not bear qualifications satisfactory of your attention— Bachelor’s Degree? I have yet to receive even my high school diploma.

Perhaps I am too naive to share anything of importance— at sixteen years, I have merely dipped my toes in the often tempestuous waters of life.

And perhaps all efforts to write to you are fruitless as my words will simply not be read— I am but a mere fleck of interplanetary dust amid a galaxy of stars.

Alas, I sit before my computer to write on behalf of those who, quite like myself, long to be heard. I may not possess a Ph.D., nor don the tell-tale creases of adulthood, but I, like you— yes, you, reading from just another screen— am an ordinary, teenaged girl. And that ought to count for something. 

The “F-word.” Rather taboo if spoken aloud… I’d prefer to challenge the status quo.

Feminism.

As of late, feminism has received quite the deceptive rap. Having been deemed anti-men, isolating, and unattractive, fewer and fewer women have been keen to label themselves “feminists.” Ironically, these women share many of the same beliefs as myself— a self-proclaimed feminist. 

My “dear friend” Emma has done quite the favor in supplying these women with a label: inadvertent feminists

For those inadvertent feminists reading, allow the record to show that feminism is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. (Sexes plural, is rather imperative to note.) Feminism is just as much for men as it is for women. 

At the present, I write to young women. Not to suggest that males know nothing of society’s clichés, rather females simply happen to be in greater need of our concern. We have allowed misogyny to dictate our lives far too long.

I cannot bear to see scantily-clad women adorn yet another tabloid cover…

No. We are more than the ride of our breasts, the curves of our hips, the measure of our waists. We are more than an object to be sexualized. 

If there is one thing I have learned in my sixteen years, it is that beauty is not measured in terms of physical appearance, but in that of wit and determination. 

In that of humility and generosity. In that of ardor and strife. 

In that of you

You are beautiful. Resilient. Intelligent. Capable. 

You are dynamic. Assertive. Elegant. Ambitious.

You are everything that is expected of you, and then some. 

You are enough.

And don’t you dare let anyone tell you otherwise. 

I have never claimed to excel mathematically— nor had I intended to address an open-letter— but I do know this:

The global gender gap is expected to close in 99 years. The year I turn 115. 

It is now that we must turn the tide of gender inequity. 

Perhaps I am but a mere fleck of interplanetary dust amid a galaxy of stars. Perhaps I lack all credibility. Perhaps I am an unpracticed advocate for change.

But I call you, young woman, if there is anything to take from my words— anything at all— to please remember this.

If not us, who?

And if not now, when?

Love always,

An ordinary teenaged girl

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