This Book I’m Reading…

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I’m reading Chika Unigwe’s book, On Black Sisters Street. I chose it out of a running list of books written from perspectives other than the dominant Western books we are used to reading in school. I chose this book out of the long list because I believed that I would develop a deeper understanding of what it was like to go to Europe with nothing and become a prostitute. So many people look down on prostitutes and see them as inferior, but I have heard so many stories of these people joining the industry because they are just trying to make enough money to survive.

I’m reading On Black Sisters Street because Chika Unigwe is an incredible woman with so much to say. She was a 2008 UNESCO-Aschberg fellow and a 2009 Rockefeller Foundation fellow. She has a PhD from the University of Leiden and is the recipient of many awards for her amazing writing. She isn’t afraid to tell the story of people who have left her country to try to make a life in Europe.

I’m reading On Black Sisters Street because I want to know more. I don’t want to continue to be ignorant. I want to learn more about people who are considered to be different than me. I want to read about them just to find out that we are more alike than I’ve been taught. I know I am only getting a small piece of what it was like, but I want to learn all I can. I want to develop my understanding and knowledge on the lives of others.

I’m reading On Black Sisters Street because I believe getting to know the people around you is more important than keeping your secrets. I believe in getting to know people well, instead of just grazing the surface. People should make an effort to get to know each other and make connections. To find similarities and appreciate the differences. Diversity should be celebrated, not oppressed. Diversity in each person should be been seen as beautiful and appreciated by every person that comes to contact with each other.

I’m reading On Black Sisters Street because I believe that black lives matter. I believe that women have the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies. Just because someone gets paid to have sex, does not mean that they deserve to be looked down on. There is so much more to a person than their career or who they choose to have sex with. We are more than what we choose to do in the bedroom and who we choose to do it with. Sexuality should be celebrated and appreciated. Women should not be put down because they are sexual beings. Women should not be called sluts for having sex, when men are praised and applauded.

In Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s TedTalk We Should All Be Feminists, she talks about the different goals that society sets for men and women:

“A Nigerian acquaintance once asked me if I was worried that men would be intimidated by me. I was not worried at all. In fact it had not occurred to me to be worried because a man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the kind of man I would have no interest in. But still I was really struck by this. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now, marriage can be a good thing. It can be a source of joy and love and mutual support, but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same?”

I’m reading On Black Sisters Street because I hope that women are seen for who they are, rather than who they sleep with. Women who use their bodies for sex should not be seen as dirty or disposable. They should not be told that they are not worthy of respect or dignity. I want to see a world that respects all people, regardless of their gender, race, identity, career, ethnicity, or disability. I want the rights of women who choose to explore their sexuality to be respected. If a woman wants to sell their bodies for sex, they should not be told that they are inferior or disgusting. Women who are just trying to send money home to support their families should not be slut shamed by society. The women in the book see prostitution as a career choice. Due to this being a career, “they offer their bodies to strangers but their hearts to none.”

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