When Chimamanda Adichie speaks, we listen. In her most recent interview with New York magazine’s Vulture website, she touched on a range of issues and themes that have resonated with her of late. There were the predictable reflections on feminism and Beyonce- We picked out a couple of quotes we found interesting.
Read the rest of the interview here;
How to create men free of toxic masculinity
I think about that a lot. If I had a boy, one of the things I would do is not just say it’s okay to be vulnerable, but also to expect him to respect vulnerability. Actually, shaming him into vulnerability is a good idea, because there’s so much about the way that masculinity is constructed that’s about shame. What if we switch that shame around? Instead of shaming boys for being vulnerable, why don’t we shame them for not being vulnerable? I kind of feel — I was going to say I feel sorry for men, but I don’t want to say that.
What Trump means to Nigerians
Actually there’s a large number of Nigerians who admire Trump because he represents a certain kind of African big man. Also, for Christian Nigeria, Trump is fixing all the bad things they believe Obama did, one of which is gay marriage. So for many people, America’s standing hasn’t changed. And for intellectuals and people who are left-leaning politically, there’s a kind of wicked glee [about Trump’s rise], because they think now America can’t lecture us about good governance. It’s a glee that’s very easy to understand, because Americans are very good at coming to tell you how to do something properly.
On Ugwu from Half of A Yellow Sun and that rape scene
I know your question is not “would I write the same thing now” but I’m going to invent that question and say the answer would be yes. That was a very difficult scene to write. Ugwu was the soul of the novelA sprawling novel, Half of a Yellow Sun tells the interconnected story of a group of Nigerians (and one Englishman) whose lives are upended in various ways by the country’s 1967–1970 civil war. Chief among those characters is the houseboy Ugwu, who eventually finds himself fighting in the aforementioned war on the side of the Biafrans. but it was important for me that he was in that scene because that was true. I’d done so much research when I wrote that book and what I found deeply haunting was Biafran soldiers raping Biafran women — because that spoke to the damage war does. So again, it’s about truth telling. But I still come away from Half of a Yellow Sun thinking that Ugwu is a good person. Had Ugwu not been in a war, I don’t think he would be a person who commits rape. But this whole process of talking about sexual assault now is interesting. There are times I feel uncomfortable with the blanket condemnation that happens, which is why #MeToo maybe has to be a case-by-case thing.
Seeing sadness in Melania Trump
I look at pictures of her and I see great sadness. I don’t want anyone to be sad, but the idea that she might be sad about her situation is almost comforting because it reminds you that there’s still some sort of humane presence in the private space of the White House.