The Daily Show host Trevor Noah wasted no time beating around the bush during his interview with Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (video above), starting the interview by asking her, “Why do people see the word ‘feminist’ as a negative thing?”
“People think a feminist is a sort of crazy woman who hits men and doesn’t shave,” said Adichie, talking about how feminism has long been associated with the most extreme versions and with crazy stereotypes. She also explained why she chooses the term “feminist” over “humanist” or “equalist”.
“(Humanist or equalist) is what feminism is,” observed Adichie. “Feminism is about justice for everyone but you have to name the problem. And the problem is it’s women who have been excluded so we need to call it what it is.”
The rest of the interview followed a similar tone and theme, which is to be expected as the pair discussed Adichie’s book Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions and, of course, feminism.
But feminism wasn’t the only topic of discussion during the interview. Adichie also took the time to speak with Noah about something that took social media by storm following the interview – chivalry.
Adichie, who is renown for being a feminist writer, noted that gestures like holding the door shouldn’t be gender-based.
“I think gestures like holding the door shouldn’t be gender-based. I think it’s a lovely thing to hold the door but we should hold the door for everyone. Like, I hold the door for men and women. And so I think the idea of someone holding the door for a woman because she’s a woman...I have trouble with it.
I’m quite happy for people to hold the door for me. But I hope they’re not doing it because of this sort of idea of chivalry. Because chivalry is really about the idea that women are somehow weak and need protecting. But we know that really, there are many women who are stronger than many men.”
In the end, it all comes down to freedom from gender roles, and justice for all. “When all of us are released from gender roles, we are all better off. And in the end it’s about justice. Don’t we want to live in a just world?”