Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s acceptance speech has been rippling through the internet’s digital waves since the 2015 Girls Write Now Awards last month. Stories from Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, Jezebel, Essence, New York Magazine, and so many more have covered her words. “Forget likability” has resonated with thousands of people, some young and others decades into their careers. She has challenged all women to find their place in the world free from notions and expectations.
“What I say to my students and mostly the female students is ‘forget about likeability,’” Adichie asserted. “I think that what our society teaches young girls — and I think that it’s something that’s quite difficult for even older women, self-confessed feminists, to shrug off — is this idea that likeability is an essential part of the space you occupy in the world.”