Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was one of the keynote speakers at Hubspot’s annual Inbound conference in Boston.
Inbound features four days of inspiring talks from various speakers and the renowned Nigerian writer wrapped up the four days conference on Friday, the 7th of September with a moving speech that has recently been shared by Inbound and is now going viral.
The Americanah author moved her audience during her speech as she spoke about patriarchy and how it affects men, thereby leading to a higher rate of suicide in men. She also talked about gender roles.
On Patriarchy and how it’s led to an increase in the number of men dying by suicide, she said:
Both men and women suffer from the illnesses that lead to suicide but it is men that have a much higher rate of dying by suicide.
Why? Because men are socialised to suppress so many human parts of themselves, men are socialised not to ask for help, men are socialized to see asking for help as a weakness instead of the strength that it actually is.
Men are socialised to be afraid of fear, men are socialised not to show vulnerability.
And, so, from the moment we tell a little boy that ‘boys don’t cry’ or we tell a hurting teenager to ‘man up’ we are creating an adult man who will be cheated of the full range of his emotions.
And so, while men benefit from patriarchy as we all know, the truth is that men also suffer from it. And we can tell a different story about this.
Speaking about gender roles, the author of ‘A Feminist Manifesto In Fifteen Suggestions’ said:
There is nothing a woman should be because she is a woman, and there is nothing a man should be because he is a man.
Women are not special, women are human, women are flawed just like men.
If we keep saying women are special, then we judge them at a higher and unfair standard.
She also spoke about negative stereotyping and how expressive black women are often termed “angry”, saying:
Anger is a valid human emotion and women are judged very harshly about showing anger.
In this country, it is terrible for women to show anger and it is catastrophic for black women to show anger, because the stereotype of the angry black woman is one that is impossible to shrug off once it has been pinned on you. It will follow you for the rest of your life; it will prevent you from getting opportunities that you deserve.
I know many accomplished women of all races who have held themselves back in many situations because they don’t want to be considered angry or difficult; they don’t want to be called a bitch.
Watch the full video below.