Nigerian writer and feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is causing a stir on Twitter with her latest essay in which she hits out at her critics – focusing on the abuse she has received on social media.
In 2017, the author was criticised for her comment about transgender women. She said a trans woman was a trans woman (i.e. not a woman) and that people could acknowledge difference while being fully inclusive.
This statement was misunderstood at the time, she says – and goes on to explain how fame forced her into silence and why she needs to set some records straight.
The prize-winning novelist expresses anger at people who attack others online for having different opinions.
Her outrage is particularly pointed at someone she says she considered a friend who openly criticised and tweeted half-truths about her.
She says people often ignore the vulnerability that comes with fame: ‘’They are unable to see how others who have nothing to lose can lie and connive in order to take advantage of that fame, while not giving a single thought to the feelings and humanity of the famous person.’’
Her outspokenness is causing lots of buzz with her name trending at number one on Twitter in Nigeria – despite the government’s attempt to ban the microblogging app as people are using VPNs.
Someone tweeted: “Even if you don’t like her, you have to concede that there many important truths in that Chimamanda’s essay. Self-reflection is good for us individually and for the greater human good.”
Another said: “Chimamanda got tired of the performative nonsense on Twitter. People trashing their friends and people they have benefitted from all for RTs, attention and winning badges, while throwing others under a bus. Great, we are making progress.”
Adichie, who is also an LGBTQ rights advocate, caused a lot of stir earlier in the year, when her video telling women not to use feminism to justify wickedness went viral: “Sometimes, I see some of these young ladies and when talking to them, they sound really mean, and I say to them this isn’t feminism; you’re just being nasty.”
Now, she wants people to be more civil online.
‘’I have spoken to young people who tell me they are terrified to tweet anything, that they read and re-read their tweets because they fear they will be attacked by their own.
“The assumption of good faith is dead. What matters is not goodness but the appearance of goodness. We are no longer human beings. We are now angels jostling to out-angel one another. God help us. It is obscene.’’