Inquiring minds

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie stands by question she asked Hillary Clinton about her Twitter bio

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie speaks with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Julian Hom/Facebook)

Feminist icon Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie sat down with Hillary Clinton this week for a wide-ranging conversation at the PEN World Voices Festival at Cooper Union in New York City. Adichie, who considers herself a major fan of Clinton’s, pressed the former secretary of state on several issues, but received some blowback on social media for one particular question she posed. At one point, the author of We Should All Be Feminists asked Clinton why the word “wife” is the first word listed in her Twitter bio.

“In your Twitter account, the first word that describes you is wife. And then I think it’s mom, and then it’s grandmother, and when I saw that, I have to confess that I felt just a little bit upset. And then I went and I looked at your husband’s Twitter account, and the first word was not husband,” Adichie told Clinton.

In response, Clinton said, “When you put it like that, I’m going to change it,” before noting that women should be free to define themselves — and their accomplishments — however they liked.

“It shouldn’t be either/or,” explained Clinton. “It should be that if you are someone who is defining yourself by what you do and what you accomplish, and that is satisfying, then more power to you.”

On social media, feminists were quick to jump to Clinton’s defense, noting that while Adichie was entitled to her perspective that women should not be shamed for taking pride in their domestic roles.

In a Facebook post, Adichie responded to criticism by noting that she was “an unapologetic fan of Ms. Clinton’s,” and that she had wanted to speak to her “from the heart.” But, Adichie added, Clinton had said prior to the interview that nothing was off limits. “I completely stand by my question and by my conviction that it is a subject that matters,” Adichie wrote on Facebook.

“We all react personally to public figures. And I WAS upset that the Twitter bio of a woman who is the most accomplished person to run for President of the United States, would begin with ‘wife.’ And considering her personal history, it just didn’t seem to fit,” wrote Adichie. “I felt that ‘wife’ was used as an attempt to placate all the men and women who will not vote for a woman unless they are able to see her FIRST in domestic terms.” Read Adichie’s full remarks on why she asked the question and the response to it in the Facebook post below.

And below, watch a video clip of Adichie asking Clinton the question that many took to be controversial.

Read the full story at CNN.

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