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tv   100 Women in Conversation  BBC News  December 2, 2021 2:30am-3:01am GMT

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all tournaments in china. it comes after chinese tennis star peng shuai disappeared from public view for three weeks after she accused a top official of sexual assault.some of the biggest names in tennis have thrown their support behind the wta's move. south africa has recorded a sharp increase in coronavirus infections which have doubled across the country since monday. health officials say the newly discovered omicron variant may be fuelling the surge.at the same time, the first case of the new variant has been reported in california. the american actor, alec baldwin, has given his first full interview since the fatal shooting of the cinematographer, halyna hutchins, on the set of his film, rust. mr baldwin told abc he did not pull the trigger on the gun which killed ms hutchins in october.
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tens of thousands of people in the north of england are preparing to spend a sixth night without electricity — after storm arwen left infrastructure badly damaged. energy networks say at present there are around 30,000 households still without power. 15,500 of those are in the north—east of england, 7,000 in the north—west, and 7,500 in different regions of scotland. power has now been restored to almost every home in wales — as our correspondent fiona trott reports. another day and another problem. if we can move all this here... engineers from across england trying to restore power in northumberland. we've been without power since about, oh, seven o'clock on friday night, and we've coped, but boy am i glad to see these people, and apparently they're from bedford as well. in neighbouring county durham,
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a visit from the energy minister, greg hands. but when you've been without energy for six days the frustration starts to show. the government has said we will stand behind assistance, we are working closely with the british red cross and making sure that that assistance gets to people. i do think you are kidding yourself. the red cross? i don't see the red cross here, 0k? you can mention whatever you like at your level... yeah. but you are talking a different world to my level. rolo, come here. these farming communities are a world away from westminster. the challenge here in doddington is milking 300 cows twice a day and relying on one generator. we have to have electricityl to run the machines to milk cows, and it won't wait. otherwise they get very uncomfortable, you get health problems, mastitis, etc in aberdeenshire, this couple in torphins are relying on one fire in one room. as time has gone on, i think we've become more and more ragged and exhausted. no lighting.
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and so, it's really been a struggle, and slowly this granite building is getting colder and colder. in areas like these people are used to working together in a crisis. but as the days go on, they say they need more than community spirit. fiona trott, bbc news, northumberland. now on bbc news, in a special bbc 100 women interview, author chimamanda ngozi adichie discusses the responsibilities of being seen by many as a @feminist icon@. of being seen by many ——as a "feminist icon". welcome to this bbc 100 women special interview with the nigerian writer and feminist chimamanda ngozi adichie. you may know her from her 2012 ted talk we should all be feminists orfrom her words being sampled in the beyonce song flawless but her books have been translated in over 30 languages. her newest essay deals with a very personal grief
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of losing her father. her mother also unexpectedly died in the past year. she tells us why she has chosen to be so open about this time in her life. i also ask her about the controversial comments she has made about trans women in the past and we discuss how she copes with the very public consequences of being one of nigeria's most famous voices. chimamanda ngozi adichie, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us here on the bbc�*s 100 women season. thank you. we are just going to start off talking about how a lot of our audience might have come across you and especially with the we should all be feminist ted talk from ten
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years ago, almost. how do you reflect on those days now and how would you say your thoughts have perhaps changed since 2012? it is interesting. i have not realised it has been that long. my view of feminism are still really the same which is that i think feminism is fundamentally a justice movement. and i realise, of course, that the word feminist are so many negative connotations and by giving the talk it was a way of trying to take it back to its basic fundamental meaning which is that we should all really want equality. we should all really want is i've never quite understood where there is so much hostility to conversations around feminism. this idea that women just want to be full and equal human beings.
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they want to be considered because they are, obviously. women are full and equal human beings with the world refuses to acknowledge that. so when i gave that talk i think also wanted to talk about feminism in a way that is accessible to people. in a way that is not about being the all way that isn't even necessarily political. one of the important things you have talked about is how anger can be a majorforce when it comes to responding to social constructs around gender. how do you think women today can use anger as a force, positive force? in so many parts of the world women are socialised to deny their anger. to be afraid of being seen as angry. and i think in the west, in particular, women in general are really not permitted anger. to be considered an angry woman has so many negative connotations and for black women it is disaster because there is already a stereotype
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of the angry black woman. as women are aware of that there is tendency to hide their anger. i think women really need to start owning their anger, because anger is justified. i think most people in the world today who care aboutjustice should be angry because there is so much that isn't right and i think anger can be a propelling force. sometimes because we are angry we are prepared to act. i don't know if i would have spoken about how think we should all be feminist if i had not been angry. the goal of feminism is to make itself redundant. we want to get to a world where we no longer need which means that it has to be a democratic idea. and when i talk to people i do say to them, look around the world. look at your own experience. i grew up really with wonderful parents and a family that was very progressive. my parents were friends, and were equals. but despite that it was still very obvious to me as a child that the world just does not give women the same dignities that it gives men and this
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was seen as just normal. and you were made to feel strange for questioning it. i then later had stories of my great grandmother, my father's grandmother, who was considered a troublemaker in my home town and the reason she was considered a troublemakers because her husband had died young and his brothers wanted to take away her property and she resisted. she said, i have a son, i need to raise my son. you cannot take away my things. and because she resisted she was considered a troublemaker. and so i think troublemaker a wonderful label for a woman. as long as it is good trouble. i say to people, think about your life, think about when women have been treated differently for the same behaviour. and also think it is important to see that we're not saying minimum in the same. they are not. that is no point was a bit men and women wear the same we would not have sexism.
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the reason we have is because there are differences between men and women. people have then given negative value to all of the attributes that women have so it is not that men and women are the same. it is that men and women are different obviously but that they are equally human. you have chosen to use your voice and your platform as a world—renowned writer to talk about these issues. how does it make you feel that you have become a cultural icon around the world and what are the responsibilities that come with that? i don't actually always remember that. i don't wake up and think "i'm a cultural icon." i don't even know what that is. because of literature i had this platform where people want me to speak somewhere and so really i made the choice to talk about the things i care about. those are not really are at the centre of my heart. those things that are are writing and
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reading and dreaming. if i'm able to make a difference then i want to do it. do i feel a sense of responsibility? i think so. but it is a responsibility that i don't want somebody else to define for me. and i remember years ago telling someone in my home town who said you are a role model, you have to be very careful. and i said, on the one hand, i am honoured that you would think of me as a role model but then on the other hand there is a part of me that resists that because often people use that to then want to tell you how to be. and this person was saying it in the context of my writing so saying you are a role model so you can write about sex. the idea was africans don't have sex, i guess. and i thought no. responsibility something i define for myself but i want to say what i think and ijust never believed in performing for, been to the myself is important. authenticity is important to me. there are consequences
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to refusing to perform as a person living as a public person in the world and i'm willing to take on the responsibilities. part of grief�*s tyranny is that it robs you of remembering things that matter. his pride in the me mattered. more than anyone else�*s. speaking about your most recent piece of work, your latest book, notes on grief, which looks at the grief the passing of your father, james. and also the passing of your mother, grace, as well. you talk about still processing the grief, not knowing what you are learning, what your understanding. so ijust wanted to ask you how are you doing right now? how is this process going for you? i don't know. there are good days and bad days. and the days ofjust
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utter disbelief. ijust really cannot believe what happened to us, you know. he felt a bit unwell. had been sleeping poorly. but we were not to worry. 0n the 8th ofjune 0ki went to see him and said he looked tired. 0n the 9th ofjune i kept our chat brief so that he could rest. he laughed when i did my playful imitation of a relative. he said good night. his last words to me. 0n the 10th ofjune he was gone. my brother called to tell me and i came undone. earlier today i just felt very light and i don't
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mean that in a good way. i felt that i could very easily be blown away. i was very close to my parents. i wouldn't be who i am without them. they were remarkable people. even saying the past tense feel surreal even now so i don't know. i do know that i am a changed person. i'm changed. ijust cannot be the person i was beforejune of 2020 because something catastrophic happened in my life and i just look at things really differently now. there is a kind of impatience i no longer have for rubbish, for example. i am so much more aware of thinking what i want my life to be. who do i really want to be? and i don't know how much longer i have because what happens when you agree these that suddenly you are so aware of mortality. death is so close. it has changed me and it is also made me very angry. ifeel so much rage.
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in your writing you talked about how you shied away from public grieving but since then in recent weeks you have been generous enough to share this grief without so publicly. can you tell us why you have chosen to do that now? why you've chosen to have such a public conversation about your grief? because i actually find it ever so slightly comforting. also because my siblings and i are very close but we are alljust really burdened with our suffering and we lean on each other but there are times when i want to reach out to someone who is not family because there is a which it is almost safer. it is more consequence free. you're not making it more difficult for someone that you love and also because i kind of hope to help someone else because grieving is such strange thing. and death itself is so final and so fundamentally unknowable that it feels like trying to make your way through this very dark, deep hole
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and there is that desire to not feel alone. and so i found it a bit comforting and i have also found it comforting to hear about the stories of other people who are grieving. and it is just that feeling of not wanting to be utterly alone and just thinking, right, this thing is horrible but apparently it is a thing that is universal. people all through the world are also going to this horrible thing and it makes you feel slightly comforting. one of the other issues you've been very passionate about recently is speaking about cancel culture and toxicity on social media. in one of your latest essays, it is 0bscene, which you released injune you talked about, you know, the wider issue of cancel culture. i did consider the public space of social media to be obscene as you wrote in the essay? what i consider obscene is not
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the public space of social media as it is how it has been used by certain people. there's something about using a screen that makes you forget the humanity that's present. but most of all that there is just good faith is dead. so those conversations are not in good faith. there is something very performative about it. you talk about things people say things they don't really believe. people are too quick. we now live in a world where... there is just so much quickness to think the worst of someone put the worst possible spin on what someone has said. the assumption, for example, is if you use the wrong language you're morally bad. it's not that you have made a mistake, it is that you are morally bad. and these moral judgements then stick. that person loses theirjob and be fired for everything and i cannot help but think where is this going to end?
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there are young people who are terrified of tweeting things and reread their tweets before they send them out because they're worried somebody will come after them. and i don't participate, obviously. but being a public figure in general ijust don't do it myself but you are a target and accept that but when it becomes just really vile then it's just not acceptable, it's just not ok and i think a lot of what is said is not ok. has it had a personal issue on you when you see these comments? part of the reason i'm still saying it is that i don't look at comments. however, of course, if there is something going on i will hear there is something going on but i think the one thing that really ticked me over and made me write that essay was having my nephew call me and say that there were people on social media say my parents
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had died and it was good for me and it was punishment because i had refused to say trans women are women. i just found it so inhumane. just so inhumane. i think if you can trivialise something so serious as the death of a person's parents because a person refuses to participate in language orthodoxy, not because a person must anybody of their rights then something is really wrong. do you think your perceptions about the tone and the language, then behaviour that comes from cancel culture. and not necessarily people choosing to make economic decisions to stop supporting someone because they disagree with their actions or their politics? not supporting a person because you disagree with them is absolutely the right of everyone. i've often said that people don't like my position should not buy my books.
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you know, because i'm not really writing for them. but there is a difference between that and, for example, person says something and suddenly you want them fired from theirjobs. there's a sense in which we need to have a sense of proportion of punishment to crime. you cannot because someone has said, and often, and for me the thing that bothers me the most, it's often people who are naturally supposed to be on the same side. that's the thing that i find really troubling. and so there is no room for learning, growing, somebody said one thing and suddenly everything that person stands for becomes irrelevant. and i don't really like the expression cancel culture because again, it's become so politicized. people have taken it to mean all kinds of things. i, for example, am a believer in, if i read a book that someone has written that i find for example racist, i'm not going to buy the person's book the next time because i think, hmm, not what i want to do. but i don't know that i'm then
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going to wage a campaign saying they should never speak anywhere, they should never... i'd rather use my energy on things that, i don't know, make more sense to me. and obviously this whole conversation around you being cancelled, i'm sure there are probably a lot of opportunities or moments where people have talked about you being cancelled in the past but obviously a lot of this came from your comments in 2017, from an interview where you talked about your feelings that trans women are trans women. it's several years on. does this still reflect your views today. yes. just explain that a bit more. i don't know that there's any—, i mean, i've never understood — and so even being asked this question. why am i being asked this question? in other words, what is it about trans women are trans women that is offensive? there is a sense that by talking about trans women being trans women, they're being excluded from womanhood and being othered.
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but in what way? there's a major logical fallacy to this, because on the one hand we say we want to be inclusive, and the premise of inclusivity is that there are differences between us. why then are we so unwilling to acknowledge those differences? in some ways it seems to me like saying "i'm colour blind". you know, and "everyone's grey". there's something about this impulse on the left to wish away difference because difference is the basis of oppression. but i find it actually quite patronising to minority groups. you know, i, i'm of course deeply, and i have always been in fact, deeply supportive of difference in general. and so when it comes to transgender people i am, for example, deeply supportive of gender affirming care. so if there are countries where trans people want to transition and are being deprived of their healthcare,
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i think that'sjust, i think that's immoral, right? i think that trans people should never be removed from anything, any civil thing, because they are trans people. but to then say that trans women and women have the same experiences just doesn't make sense because i think in some ways as well, it's denying the transness of trans people and that's also wrong. right, but you know what, fundamentally this is about language orthodoxy and that's really what my problem is. we now live in a world where you're supposed to say things in a particular way and if you refuse to say that it's just massive... just massive backlash, and ijust refuse to — you know, i'm done. so i'm going to use the language i want to use. if i think that the language orthodoxy has a problem,
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i will not participate in it, but i don't think that it means that people should then accept that refusing to participate in this language orthodoxy means somehow that, as i have been told, i want people dead. i mean, the whole thing is absurd. you cannot look at my history and my political positions and somehow credibly say that i want trans people dead. it's nonsense. i'm completely supportive of trans rights but i'm just not going to participate in certain language orthodoxes that i think really masks the reality of different peoples, and we need to understand that it is in fact possible for things to coexist. sometimes one feels that the fashionable feminism of the day is one in which you're supposed to parrot these orthodoxies, but somehow we're forgetting that there is a raging epidemic of violence against women, everywhere in the world, it's epidemic. and itjust seems to me that it's almost become unfashionable to talk about those things. you know, it's an american invention.
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there are orthodoxies that we're supposed to parrot and that makes us morally virtuous, but we're not even actually thinking about real things. and so i want to go back to this question because trans women have different needs. so let's talk about healthcare. the needs of trans women in terms of healthcare are very different from the needs of women born female. how do we then deal with that and the challenges that they have, because there are still many countries that will deny trans people gender affirming care. how do we deal with that if we're going to pretend that there are no differences? itjust seems to me, really, a kind of, it's disingenuous. the world has changed dramatically over the past two years. is there any particular advice you have at the moment in terms of how we raise women or we raise feminists, for mothers and fathers who are watching, in particular from your experience of now raising a daughter? it's notjust how we raise girls, it's
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also how we raise boys. i think there needs to be more gentleness infused in raising boys because that way they can hopefully grow up to be men who are a bit more emotionally secure. and then with the way we raise girls — obviously gentleness is there already but then maybe we need to infuse a little more, a sense of resilience, a sense of strength, a sense of not apologising for being who they are, and also to teach girls that they do not need the approval of everyone. we live in a world where so many girls just have been raised to think that if one person doesn't like you that's the end of the world. ijust think it's a terrible thing to teach girls and so what i would say to young girls is, especially teenagers, if someone says they don't like you, it's important for you to say to them that you also have the ability to like and dislike. it's important for girls to think of themselves as subjects. you're just not an object that someone say, "oh, i like you, i don't like you." "change your behaviour for me."
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no. you know, you sit tall and you tell them, actually, i kind of don't like you too. and there's going to be someone who will like you in the world, you know? laughs. thank you so much, i really appreciate it. and thank you for your generosity and being so open and so warm and talking to us about all these issues. thank you. hello. the cold air is back. thursday gets off to a chilly start with a wide spread frost and temperatures won't crawl up too far for the day despite a lot of sunshine on offer. the cold air has come chasing down through these isobars all the way from close to the arctic circle, sweeping its way right to south across the uk. 0vernight starting to plunge down into the continent through thursday.
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we are all in the arctic air and we will all feel it thanks to a cold northerly breeze. where we've seen some showers overnight there will be a risk of ice to start us off on thursday. as i said, a widespread frost. further showers across eastern scotland, eastern counties of england through the day, a few as well across the west coast of wales particularly i think through pembrookshire pushing down through devon and cornwall, eastern scotland. perhaps clearing come the afternoon. but it's cold in the sunshine. highs ofjust 3—4 degrees. sunshine a bit milkier for northern ireland through the afternoon. that is because this weather system will be starting to work its way in. as it runs into the cold air there could be some snow for a time but it will tend to turn back to rain as the air coming in behind this band of rain is relatively mild. actually, temperatures at the end of friday nights higher than those we will see through thursday daytime. and on into friday daytime and we will have some rain around for southern and eastern england to start the day, we will get some brightness for scotland and northern ireland, they'll be a few showers on and off here. just some question to the south
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of the uk weather this rain could push in through friday afternoon. we will certainly keep a lot of cloud generally across england and wales but temperatures perhaps 11— 12 degrees. it's certainly milder than thursday. to the north, five, six, seven. for the weekend, though, the chill returns. perhaps not quite as cold as thursday but once again will pick up a northwesterly breeze. for saturday, i think that's going to bring in some quite plentiful showers across northern island heading into north wales down into the midlands. temperatures, 6—7 degrees but it will feel cooler in the breeze. sunday is a very similar story but i think we can erase some of the showers from our picture. still some for western exposures of wales, and a northerly breeze, so really adding to the chillier feel.
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welcome to bbc news. our top stories: the women's tennis association suspends all tournaments in china amidst concerns about peng shuai. we are not going to walk away from this and we're not going allow this to be swept away without the appropriate respect and seriousness of the allegations that have been reflected are appropriately addressed. covid cases in south africa have increased sharply as the first case of 0micron is reported in the us. hollywood actor alec baldwin insists he did not pull the trigger in the fatal shooting of cinematographer halyna hutchins. abortion rights in the balance as the united states supreme
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court hears the most important case in a generation.

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