Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, Blogger, Speaker

Feminist and Feminine – We Can Be Both

Feminist and Feminine

Chimamanda is making ads for Boots No7 make-up. I like her combination of feminist and feminine.

The Americans may not be familiar with Boots. I know the product and the stores from the UK.

Boots was started in 1849, I learned on Wikipedia. Two years ago it became part of Walgreens.

Boots stores are like a slightly upscale CVS. Their shops are usually on the “high street,” Wikipedia says. Do you know that phrase?

My local CVS drugstore carried Boots products three years ago, for about a year. Then they disappeared. That must have been when Walgreens bought Boots.

Feminist and feminine Boots make-up

Feminist and feminine Boots make-up

Walgreens says on their website, “No7 is the UK’s #1 beauty brand.* Launched in 1935, No7 has been rewriting beauty history for over 80 years with the mission of helping women look and feel their best every day.”

And I love Chimamanda’s ad. She makes every word count. She talks about herself and about women, not about the product!

Aisha Ayoade wrote the blog post in Brittle Paper where I found Chimamanda’s ad.

She said, “You typically don’t look to a make-up ads or beauty campaigns to tell you something meaningful about feminism. Maybe that’s what’s different about this one. Adichie sends out a clear and unequivocally political message about feminism in her Boots Campaign. The premise of the ad is simple: it’s okay to be feminist and feminine.”

I’ll check out Boots products at the Walgreens in Westport.

The Pull of Community

I’m writing about West African, specifically Igbo, customs, as I’ve told you. I’m giving the sermon at the Unitarian Congregation in Stamford, Connecticut, this Sunday on the topic.

kola nuts

I’ll use kola nuts like these on Sunday

I ordered kola nuts online (why not?). They’ll be here tomorrow. I want to bless the kola nuts at the service on Sunday. Kola nuts are such a wonderful sign of welcome and community in Nigeria.

I’ve submitted the proposal from three of us – Iyabo Obasanjo, Margaret Anderson, and me – for a workshop, Living in Community: Lessons from West Africa, for the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in June.

I had new insight about belonging and living in community in the last few days from a novel!

People Captured by Native Americans or Indians

I just finished the amazing novel, News of the World, by Paulette Jiles.

Paulette Jiles' novel about a girl captured by Kiowa Indians

Paulette Jiles’ novel about a girl captured by Kiowa Indians

The story is about a young girl, an elderly man, and the bond they form.

Captain Kidd is an itinerant news reader.

The summary on Amazon says, “In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.”

I started listening as we drove to and from Ithaca to visit our grandson Kenechi. I finished it yesterday and was sorry it ended!

The girl resists being taken away by a strange man who doesn’t speak her Kiowa language.

Captain Kidd reflects on white people, mostly children, who were captured by Indians and didn’t want to return to their homes, families or communities. They believed they belonged with their ‘adoptive’ Indian families.

At the end the author names a book to read for more information on these people. I’ve ordered it. It’s called The Captured: A True Story of Abduction by Indians on the Texas Frontier. 

I've ordered this book; should be very interesting to read.

I’ve ordered this book; should be very interesting to read.

The author is Scott Zesch

You can read more about the novel on Amazon, or on the Goodreads website. I encourage you to read the book and tell me what you think.

Bananas or Oil – What a Choice!

The Guardian had a funny and perceptive article about the Nigerian economy and its problems.

The author of the article, Feyi Fawehinmi, asks, Do people want bananas? More specifically, do they want to grow bananas?

Maybe not, he says.

Even though the government has made a mantra of diversification recently, people suffer from what he calls the Dutch Disease. His description: “when a country starts exporting natural resources, foreign exchange starts to flow heavily into its economy. . . it becomes easier and cheaper to just import stuff than to produce them locally.”

The result is that local industry fails. Agriculture likewise is neglected in part because of the “psychological Dutch Disease,” he says. Oil production seems so easy, once the original investment has been made.

To make money from bananas on the other hand, “you have to harvest them while they are green, then wash them. They also have to be shipped at exactly 14 degrees centigrade in special refrigerated ships to stop them from ripening during the journey. Timing is so important so that they start to ripen as they get to the supermarket.”

He concludes, “after all this wahala and hard work, a banana costs only 18 pence (less than N100) at a Tesco supermarket in the UK. If you’ve once enjoyed oil money, one way or the other, you are going to look at this banana business and conclude there must be easier ways to make money in life.”

Banana trees from Andreas

Banana trees, photo from Andreas Fytoria

Oil is too easy, and oil money, even at $40 a barrel, still makes a profit.

Of course what he doesn’t say is that only a few individuals are fortunate to own oil concessions. The government gets most of the revenue from oil whether at $100 or $40 a barrel.

Most of us have to do the equivalent of growing bananas to earn a living!


Author: Catherine Onyemelukwe

Author, blogger, speaker. Born in New York, grew up in mid west United States, lived in Nigeria for 24 years, back in U.S. since 1986. Advocate for racial justice.

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