Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is here to remind young women that whoever likes you or doesn’t like you should have no effect on your self worth.
On May 19, the Nigerian author was honored at the 2015 Girls Write Now Awards, where she gave a riveting speech directed at young women — reminding them that their stories and their voices matter. “I think it’s important to tell your story truthfully and I think that’s a difficult thing to do — to be truly truthful,” Adichie told the crowd in New York City.
She said that it’s hard for women to be truthful when telling their stories because we’re conditioned to be concerned about offending people. Adichie told the young women in the crowd to forget about being liked. “If you start off thinking about being likable you’re not going to tell your story honestly because you’re going to be so concerned with not offending and that’s going to ruin your story. Forget about likability,” she said.
“Forget about likability”
“I think that what our society teaches young girls and I think it’s also something that’s quite difficult for even older women, self-confessed feminists to shrug off is that idea that likability is an essential part of the space that you occupy in the world,” she went on. “That you’re supposed to twist yourself into shapes and make yourself likable, that you’re supposed to kind of hold back sometimes, pull back, don’t quite say, don’t be too pushy because you have to be likable. And I say that is bullshit.” And that’s what we call a crowd pleaser.
Thank you, Chimamanda for reminding all of us (even the self-confessed feminists) that being liked should never stand in the way of telling your story.
Watch her entire speech in the video above.