Am I allowed to be upset that renowned writer, Chimamanda Adichie was upset at Hillary Clinton’s Twitter bio starting with “Wife”? Because, as most Nigerians are fond of saying, “Is it your (in this case) bio?”
In their exchange during a PEN World Voices festival in Manhattan where Clinton gave a lecture on the role of free speech in sustaining a healthy democracy, Adichie had wondered why Clinton had started her bio as such while her husband, Bill, had not.
“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 had said.
Clinton, who ran for president in 2016, was Secretary of State and served as a senator, stated she would change the bio, though, implied afterward that how a woman describes herself depends on whether she defines herself based on accomplishments or relationships.
In other words, Adichie found upsetting a woman who has accomplished much in politics deciding to still identify herself with being a woman married to someone, and who has birthed a child who in turn has birthed two children – all of which are facts but, to Adichie, undermine her accomplishments.
But should that be the case? Why must being a wife, mother and/or grandmother be seen as undermining? Because a set of people usually say things like, “a woman belongs in the kitchen” or “she slept her way up”? Should the energy not be towards enlightening people about appreciating who a person is?
It’s like meeting John Legend and being upset his Twitter bio reads “husband” first while his wife’s – who doesn’t use his surname to identify herself to the public by the way – doesn’t start with “wife”.
It essentially is a non-issue Adichie made into an issue. Like Clinton said, if you want to be referred as a wife, that’s your own. If you want to refer to yourself as what you’ve achieved, that’s your own, too.
Clinton has not changed her bio, by the way, but we’ll give her the benefit of doubt that she has not tweeted since the day before her conversation with Adichie on the 22nd.
Also, the bio has “women+kids advocate, FLOTUS, Senator, SecState, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, 2016 presidential candidate” in it – and Adichie chose “wife” to be upset about. Suddenly, her buddy, Beyonce’s Twitter bio which has nothing on it is upsetting me but… is it my bio?