Chimamanda Adichie, Nigerian author, says one of the reasons she wears makeup in Nigeria is to avoid the stereotype of being viewed as “too young”.
Adichie, in an interview with New York Times, insinuated that Nigerian men are more inclined to be dismissive of younger women.
The ‘Americanah’ writer noted that age has afforded her the luxury of being comfortable enough to appreciate and “enjoy” wearing makeup.
She said: “You realize there’s very little time for rubbish. You realize life is short, and it’s so much better to be who you are. When I was younger, I didn’t have the sense of self to do that.
“But it’s interesting because even when I didn’t wear makeup in the U.S., I wore makeup in Nigeria because I wanted to look my age and not too young. In Nigeria, in particular, it was easy for men to dismiss what I said because they thought I looked like a small girl.
“I remember seeing a man at the airport after my first novel was published, and he looked at me, quite quizzical, and said, “You look like the writer.” And I said, “Well, I’m kind of her.” His face fell. And he said, “I didn’t think the writer would be such a small girl.” There was such disappointment on his face.”
“At some point, I wanted to be who I am. And who I am is a person who enjoys, from time to time, putting a bright color on my lips.”
Adichie also said her mother’s love of fashion sparked her interest in the world of beauty.
“If you were raised by Grace Adichie, my mother, you had better be interested in fashion. From the time I was a little girl, my mother would dress me up.
“She would put some of her jewelry on me. I’m a bit of a shoe fiend. I make no apologies for it. The first makeup I used was my mother’s lip gloss. I remember putting on a lot of it, so it was quite shiny. She didn’t mind at all. She said, “You look like you ate hot jollof rice and didn’t wipe it off.
She further noted that society expects women to “choose slices” of themselves, which makes it hard for many to fully express themselves.
“There’s a part of me that likes shoes, and likes dresses, and likes makeup, and likes books, and likes to write. I think that’s the case for many women. But our culture makes us think we have to choose slices of ourselves that we’re comfortable showing the world.”
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