What’s Current: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – ‘Societal privilege isn’t about how you feel’

After being heavily attacked online over her recent comments about transwomen, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie clarifies:

 

Was that viral video featuring a BBC pundit getting interrupted by his kids so funny after all?

In case you’re still in doubt, yes, women really are treated differently than men, in all sorts of ways.

Gloria Steinem: “There is no such thing as ‘white feminism.'”

It’s still legal for a man to rape his wife in India.

Yes, do tell us why, boys.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • Lucia Lola

    She’s been hounded even more now, specifically because of her clarification, if you can believe it. You cannot have a dialogue with people who don’t hear anyone but themselves. The great thing about all this is at least more people are waking up to the garbage being thrown at women by these supposed feminists.

    • Rachael

      Absolutely. I tried to get into a debate on Facebook tonight (should have known, it was on a Bustle post) to defend her, and I was called a TWERF three times and (my favourite so far) I was told I was being transphobic for calling a transwoman a transwoman instead of just “woman.”

      I don’t agree with everything Adicihie said (same with her clarification), mostly because I think she’s pandering to the idea that you can change sex (and by extension gender, instead of deconstructing the idea of gender) but it’s clear she’s trying super hard to make sure people understand she’s for human rights and doesn’t want trans people to be hurt. Unfortunately she doesn’t seem to have grasped that nothing short of acknowledging transwomen’s desire for fiction over fact will be enough for them. I feel really bad for her.

      • Meghan Murphy

        I don’t agree with everything she said either… I think she was playing it as safe as possible to ensure her message isn’t distorted and to avoid being attacked, which of course didn’t work because, as you point out, no matter how polite and respectful you are, it is absolutely impermissible to diverge from the prescribed mantras.

      • lk

        “but it’s clear she’s trying super hard to make sure people understand she’s for human rights and doesn’t want trans people to be hurt…Unfortunately she doesn’t seem to have grasped that nothing short of acknowledging transwomen’s desire for fiction over fact will be enough for them. I feel really bad for her.”

        Exactly!

        I’m sure they’ll keep critiquing her until she apologizes and says she was wrong and that transwomen are women. My guess is that transactivist will want people to not listen to what she says about anything now because she is “transphobic.”

        My genuine hope is that she doesn’t back down from this–its important to have mainstream figures in feminism who are willing to state facts and not give into the ridiculous pressure to make your feminism so inter-sectional that is has to include men in the category of women.

  • Just Passing Through

    I’ll never forget wayyyy back in 1992 we got our first computer… and I got on a chat site for the very first time (i think this was around when chat rooms started, i dunno couldve been earlier) anyway… my boyfriend at the time was online and he asked me if I felt like chatting with “someone in Russia” . I thought, “Hm that might be interesting” so I get on there and I start talking to this guy in Russia (who could speak english) and we talked and talked for a really long time, it was really cool to be chatting with some person on the other side of the world….he asked me tons of questions about America, I asked him a bunch about Russia…anyway we had a really nice chat, very pleasant, very civil, very engaging and then toward the end, I let it be known that I was female and the first thing out of his mouth was “No you aren’t, you’re too intelligent to be a female….and besides you converse just as a man would” I was just stunned, all of a sudden just because I let it be known that we had different genitals (not what I said lol)…..he was just incensed that he had taken that much out of his night to talk to a damn girl. Oh and before he left he asked me what kind of underwear I was wearing. To make this way too long story shorter, I got to know that sense of privilege through that conversation and I knew he was being respectful to me because he thought I was another man. Fuck it all …..huh?

  • lk

    “But as one other tweeter in his feed said, I wish they’d just believe us.”

    Yes! I saw this story on yahoo the other day and was thinking the same thing.

    These kinds of stories make me feel kind of conflicted. On the one hand, its a good thing when men realize sexism is real. On the other hand, how many times have women in his life shared stories of being treated like crape b/c they are female? how many times has he seen stories or articles online about sexism? How many times has he seen sexism in real life and just not recognized it? Why does it take walking in a women’s shoes to come the conclusion that sexism against women is real?

    The underlying assumption is that when women talk about sexism, we are lying, exaggerating or paranoid. So guys are like “ooh, wait let me see for myself if this is true!”…and then they’re like “OMG, y’all sexism is real!!!.” Its kind of insulting actually.

    I have the same reaction when I read these articles that are like “I didn’t understand racism until I adopted/fostered/married/dated etc a person of color.”

    Do y’all know the book Black Like Me? It’s a true recollection of a white journalist who lives as a black man in the South during the 60’s for a few weeks…He shaves his head and took medication and tanned to make himself successfully pass for black. Not surprisingly, he shares how much racism he experienced, how he had to consider so much as a black person that he never had to experience as a white man. The book became a hit and people were always asking him to talk about the black experience in America. He said he felt extremely uncomfortable being a spokesperson for black people when there were literally millions of black people speaking out about racism.

    I think its ingrained in us to automatically believe and trust the word of men, but to secondguess or just disbelieve the words of women.

  • Meghan Murphy

    ugh

  • Tired feminist

    Neat, so male privilege is fictional but ‘cis’ privilege is totes real.

  • Zuzanna Smith

    I totally felt the same about that video, the way the mother desperately tries to haul the kids back while trying to stoop so that she isn’t seen, it made me feel bad, like, him not even turning around. He could’ve said let me take a second and carried his kids out of the room. But no, “kids and wives, right, they ruin everything, let’s pretend they don’t exist while we do important man things!” Bleh.

    • Alienigena

      He is being congratulated for what a great father he is by media. For what, shoving his kid away, rolling his eyes at the interruption, treating his kids as an irritant. If a woman did what he did at the very least people would be judging her, conducting a twitter storm of hate and possibly even calling child services because of her abuse/neglect. He is worried about his credibility as a pundit apparently. Why does having children interrupt him make him less credible? It happened one time. He could install a lock on the door if he is really concerned about kids interrupting during his pundit interviews.

  • lk

    Transwomen are women. Tranwomen never commit acts of violence against women. Men get pregnant too. There is no male privilege. There is no female biology.

    If we just keep saying these things over and over again, they will magically become true.

  • Meghan Murphy

    Intersectional has simply become a blungeon to hit feminists over the head with who center women in their politics.

  • shy virago

    I agree that Adichie was playing it safe. She was the writer of the hour last year, and when you depend on the publishing industry to promote and sell your work – and in the U.S. the industry has narrowed enormously since 2008 – well, it’s like famous Hollywood actors who are afraid to speak out.

  • shy virago

    Really like that psychology teacher! What a great way to say it.

  • Just Passing Through

    Egg-zackly! We all know that feeling of being “found out” that we are actually an icky inferior girl. Men suck.

  • Cassandra

    Yeah, that screed made me queasy. He even had the temerity to mention Sojourner Truth. I was like “Oh no you didn’t!”

  • Wren

    Male privilege is just a concept.
    Seriously folks, we can all go home now. We’ve been so bothered over NOTHING! How silly we are.

    (puking)

  • lk

    I usually avoid most comment sections because they are awful, but yes I was happy to see how many women were agreeing with CNA and saying no, transwomen and women are not the same. The pro-trans voice is so loud online, but I really think that most people know how ridiculous it is for a man to claim that he is a woman…it’s just not really acceptable anymore to say that.

  • Anon

    ^^^THIS!

  • Just Passing Through

    I know, I love that about GG she does not give 2 flying fucks what trans(anything) think about her, her position etc…. we should all feel confident like that. I stopped my people pleasing years ago and especially trying to please all the precious snowflakes in genderland. Transactivists thrive on that fear and deference…

  • Cassandra

    He’s an MRA.

  • FierceMild

    I deeply admire her for the same reason.

  • JingFei

    Lefty Dude-Bros salivate at Trans activism. They get a green light to self-righteously harass and abuse women “for the greater good”.

  • Rachael

    I’ve wondered about some of the Steinem comments I’ve read recently. I’m not entirely sure I understand the angle she’s trying to take. For example, her apparent support of Emma Watson’s role in Beauty and the Beast (Emma said in an interview that Steinem told her she thought her performance “feminist”) – it’s a blatant misognyistic Stockholm Syndrome story, for goodness sake. Is she trying to appear “current” by getting in with Emma or is Emma tying to appear intellectual by getting in with Steinem? I’m not sure how I feel but it doesn’t ring true for me either way.

  • Mandy

    That was my first reaction too. And why I was one of those people who assumed it was a nanny and not a Mom. I guess I figured a Mom would just you know, shuffle them out and maybe wave and mouth sorry or acknowledge her husband or something.

  • Mandy

    Or then turn around and tell this woman with multiple college degrees and years of activism and multiple novels under her belt that she needs to go “educate herself.”

    Like…what kind of education are they implying? More like, submit to our dogma/pray at our alter or be punished for not ignoring your own experiences and parroting the party line.

  • Mandy

    It’s sadly becoming clear that women’s attempts to compromise or even meet in the middle end us with us and our rights being pushed back. We give an inch and entitled males take a mile.