Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche: “Women can like make-up and still be intellectual”

chimananda (2).jpg

Feminist, novelist, Beyoncé-inspirer, make-up ambassador and woman after our own heart, Chimananda Ngozi Adichie is always coming out with words of wisdom.

Last week, she schooled a right wing journalist on what does and does not constitute racism, and this week, she’s discussed the age-old accusation – that women who enjoy make-up are somehow less intellectually gifted, superficial, even.

The author, who recently became a brand ambassador for No. 7, made the comments in an interview with Racked magazine, in which she also expressed shock that she was asked to do the role, saying in modesty that:

“I have no idea how they found me and I really don’t know what the hell they were thinking asking me. My only hope is that the sales don’t fall.”


Read more: My peroxide crop: an obstinate little feminist rebellion


But, despite initial reservations about the idea, Adichie says that she took up the role, partly because “I realised there was a good possibility of being sent a lot of free make-up,” but more seriously, because “I wanted to be part of the message that women who like make-up also have important and serious things that they’re doing in their lives.”

“Those can co-exist,” she continues. “I think it’s time to really stop that ridiculous idea that somehow if you’re a serious woman you can’t and should not care about how you look.”

chimananda

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Adichie highlighted the double standards that come with women’s appearances, recalling when she first moved to America and was publishing her first novel: “I had quickly realised that for a woman to be taken seriously and to be seen as a “serious intellectual person” she couldn’t possibly look as though she cared a lot about her appearance,” she recalls.

But she eventually decided to stop caring, realising the pleasure make-up brought her. “On the days when I think my cat-eye is good, it just makes me happy,” she says.

While talking about beauty post-Trump might feel a little superficial to some, the author rejected this idea, saying: “I think America is at a strange place now. But I think women still need to know what damn moisturiser works in the winter!”


Read more: “Can I be a feminist and still love make-up?”


“One of the things that I think is important is that we shouldn’t moralise make-up,” she says.

Additionally, the writer thinks all choices regarding beauty should be embraced, including Alicia Key’s recent rejection of make-up, saying: “I really respect her and her choice. For her I think makeup has always been some sort of mask and she felt she was hiding behind it, and for her it was almost a liberation. That’s my hope and my prayer for women, that women are allowed to be whatever version makes them feel truly like themselves.”

Related

make-up.jpg

'Can I be a feminist and still love make-up?'

tokyo corp.png

Rail company urges women to stop applying make-up on trains

rexfeatures_4831604o.jpg

Tavi Gevinson: "Beauty isn't a frivolous thing"

Comments

More

These tiny, delicate helix tattoos are the latest trend on Instagram

From dainty flowers to minuscule moons

by Sarah Biddlecombe
25 Apr 2017

Mum's letter to Sephora goes viral for all the right reasons

“I saw my daughter light up and act silly for the first time in MONTHS”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
25 Apr 2017

These are the features you’re most likely to inherit from your mum

They’re not as obvious as you might think.

by Moya Crockett
20 Apr 2017

Beauty queen explains why she will never hide her 25-inch scar

"When I'm on stage, I'm not the handicapped girl."

by Sarah Biddlecombe
19 Apr 2017

Do you own the most popular nail colour on Pinterest?

Hint: it costs less than a tenner…

by Kayleigh Dray
13 Apr 2017

The 20 best beauty buys for Afro hair

Welcome to your ultimate Afro hair kit

11 Apr 2017

These are the biggest beauty trends on Instagram

The results are in...

by Sarah Biddlecombe
11 Apr 2017

Chrissy Teigen pays for young woman to go to beauty school

“So excited to see you fulfill your dream!”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
10 Apr 2017

Zoe Kravitz unveils platinum blonde pixie hair cut

Because nothing says spring quite like a dramatic new haircut...

by Kayleigh Dray
10 Apr 2017

Nicole Kidman has a message for everyone with curly hair

Nicole: she's just like us

by Sarah Biddlecombe
07 Apr 2017