Sisterhood

‘Sisters don’t always get along.’ A very wise friend of mine said this (and I know she’s laughing as she reads that, but it’s true so there), and it’s been ticking over in my brain for a little while. Twitter’s been getting grimmer and grimmer for the last month or so, and it finally exploded in my little circle this week, so now you’re all going to be subjected to my thoughts on this subject. Lucky you!

I have a sister, you know. She’s twenty-two years old, incredibly beautiful, fiercely talented, passionate beyond words. I love her more than I can express.

She also pisses me right off. We disagree on, well, just about everything. She’s extremely religious, for a start, often convinced that her way is the best way, sometimes a bit holier-than-thou… And when we fight it is fucking biblical, let me tell you. We know just how to push each others buttons, know just where to twist the knife to hurt most, know all of each others’ deepest insecurities.

We’re sisters. I’ve told her that she can run away to my house if she needs to – and she’s very nearly taken me up on it. When I forget her birthday she laughs it off. She was the bridesmaid at my wedding. And no matter how bad things get, no matter how much I hate her, when the chips are down and I’ve got no one else, she has my back.

Feminists love to talk about The Sisterhood – which I think is great. What I don’t understand is when the idea of sisterhood is used to silence dissent. Sisters disagree! We bicker, and argue, and FIGHT.

There are feminists that are transphobic, that are racist, that think bisexuals don’t exist. There are feminists who think all we need is love, and those that want to kill all men. I don’t agree with all of them. I won’t talk to all of them, because I can’t abide them. I’ll fight some of them tooth-and-nail, I will call them out, I might even insult them because they piss me the fuck off.

But at the end of the day, when the patriarchy’s destroying them, when they’ve been raped, or fired for being a woman, or told they’re worthless for their gender, I’ll have their backs. I’ll stand next to them and call them sisters, and kick men in the shins for them.

Sisterhood doesn’t mean getting along. It doesn’t mean always agreeing, or not calling out bigotry, or letting trans (or black, or gay, or disabled) women be thrown under the bus for the sake of unity.

All it means is that the patriarchy is screwing us over, and that I will help you fight it.

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7 comments

  1. Sho

    I agree very nice blog :) I’m a black woman and been confused by all the arguing between women…I want us to unite to fight sexism…every woman I’ve met when I’ve been able to go to a few feminist events have been amazing and inclusive and we all suffer white black Asian mixed disabled working not working trans all of us all women wouldn’t it be nice if we all united and fought the real enemies? Sisterhood :)

    • stillicides

      Honestly, the thing preventing ‘unity’ within feminism is bigotry, not ‘calling-out’. I don’t want to fight other women, but I will if they think the way forward is oppressing black/trans/gay/etc women, you know?

      • Sho

        I agree but I think ppl can be v aggressive and that puts other people off but agree the way forward can’t be oppressing anyone…but as I said when I commented on another blog the other day I’m not well read or anything!! My 2 pennies worth is calling out should be done in private and if the person won’t listen then take it further maybe…but just think a private word could prevent a huge row?!

      • Sho

        But i don’t know it’s nothing to do with me…I hope a peaceful way can be found and we can unite as feminists :)

  2. aliw40

    Yes, yes and thrice yes.

    When I discovered (in the process of being silenced some 20 years ago) that ‘the sisterhood’ wasn’t the great big feminist love-in that my Mother and her generation wanted me to believe it to be, I felt… Let down. Even betrayed. I was too feminist for some, not feminist enough for others.

    But the perspective of this helps tremendously. Thank you!

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  4. Asanempoka.Zebra

    I have a similar idea of Sisterhood, in terms of support, equalness, being there etc. I have a blog called Sisterhood Across Continents. Come visit.
    Keep writing.
    Asanempoka

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