What happened to the Sisterhood?

Image from www.demotix.com

Image from www.demotix.com

“Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, a good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-dressed, well-groomed, and unaggressive.”  ~ Marya Mannes

I briefly thought about titling this post ‘Sisters, don’t be Bitches!’…

It is somewhat surprising to me – as a child of the eighties, growing up with the work of the suffragettes and feminists behind me, and my future status as an equal citizen in the world presumed – that now in 2013 I am writing, not about men, but to other women.

Sisters!  Wake up!

Feminism and the Women’s Movement was about giving us choices. We can vote or choose to become an elected representative of government ourselves. We have access to education and we can choose a path of study.  We can choose to marry. We can choose to have children or not.  We can choose to go to work or stay at home with a family. Or we can do both. We can choose to be a florist, a pole-dancer, a bio-physicist. We can choose high heels or sensible flats. Cosmetic surgery or au naturale. That’s the whole point. We get to choose.

Duh, I hear you say.  I know that, Nicole.

Well, that’s good.  But there’s another part to this equation. We get to choose but the flipside of this is that feminism won’t work if we then judge each other’s choices.

We need to stick together here. There’s no right or wrong, only choices. We need to support each other, and our right to make choices, to be individuals, and to forge our own paths.

A woman is not a better woman because she stays home with her children. She is not a better woman because she works. She is not worse for having no children, or for having six. She is not lesser for being a bad cook, a poor housekeeper, or ambitious in the workplace. She is not more because she has a trim figure, sex appeal or fashion sense. A woman is just who she is – an individual making choices.

The media is full of judgments and statements about women, and what a ‘good’ woman, an ‘ideal’ woman, a ‘healthy’ woman, a ‘sexy’ woman should be like. That’s a dangerous thing to buy into. When we start saying this is ‘good’ and this is ‘bad’ we erode each other, and we undo all the work that was done to enable us to have these choices in the first place.

Stepford Wives image from www.blogs.tribune.com.pk

Stepford Wives image from www.blogs.tribune.com.pk

The truth is that women still do the lion’s share of child-raising, housework, care-giving and looking after elderly parents. On top of careers. On top of personal interests, relationships and friendship maintenance.

We all take different paths and there are many more paths available to us now, but one thing needn’t change. Traditionally, women have supported each other. Grandmothers, elders, aunties, mothers, sisters, friends – they’ve come together to help each other with child raising, families, relationships, nursing the sick, cooking, creating, connecting and grieving. They have shared their wisdom and skills with one another, and enabled those with particular interests or skills to shine, while holding up those who are walking a difficult path. That is one of the magnificent things about being female – this long tradition of support, emotional connection and caring.

It costs nothing to give encouragement or kindness. Respecting each other and our individual choices makes the journey easier and more satisfying for all of us. And it sets an important example for future generations.

We’re living in extraordinary times. And so much of what we enjoy and take for granted has come about from the efforts of strong and determined women who wanted more for themselves, their sisters, their friends and their children.

Our society is made beautiful through this amazing tapestry of diversity. And that diversity is created from the right to choose.

Choice is important to all of us. It’s a basic human right.

Men make choices all the time and are not greatly judged or examined by their peers for their actions.

So why should women treat each other so differently?

Sisters, I’m asking you – support each other and our right to choose.  Celebrate that diversity and the many options we can take in our lives. And if what another woman chooses is different from you, that’s okay.  In fact, it’s wonderful. We are not just women – we are people.  Individuals. No two the same.

Most of us wish for more support and connection in our lives. It starts by suspending judgement and extending kindness and respect, especially to other women. Imagine the world we can co-create founded on that energy!

17 thoughts on “What happened to the Sisterhood?

  1. Oh Nicole, what an incredible summary of what’s going on. All women could do with reading this AND all marketers/ad executives! Thank you. Bring back sister power.
    X

  2. Wow. You have given me a new war cry – “Sisters don’t be bitches”. Recently I have started to stand up to these bitches….. and they don’t like it. Thanks for the courage to write this blog Nicole, it has my support 100%. Living true to myself is so much more rewarding, then living other people’s ideas.

  3. I have often thought the same thoughts Nicole. The Sisterhood has been (sadly) depleted for many years.

    We are in the same boat & need to be rowing in the same direction, to come together for the unity that once was, now, more than ever before in our society.

    There is nothing like the support of another Sister, we understand each other. Bring back the Sisterhood! 😀

  4. Sending you the very biggest of high-five’s from across the globe Miss Nicole.

    Sister’s don’t be bitches has nailed it, straight through the witches heart of all things wrong with women these days. Imagine if every woman, worldwide, read this blog this morning. You’d start a long overdue revolution. I would stand so proudly with you.

    If you believe in the attitude of ‘One act of kindness, ever day, can change the world’ well then I would ask anyone to give that to one of their ‘sisters’…

  5. Bless you…go for it sister . There are so many women in the world that STILL don’t have our freedom and choices …my heart bleeds for them .
    We have freedom to make up our own minds . I support all women who do just that . Let us all hold hands and unite.
    Cherry from England

  6. nicole, i don’t know how i stumbled upon your blog a few months back, but since i have started reading your posts i have always been so amazed at your candor and wisdom. you continue to amaze me on a daily basis with your love, tenderness, fierceness, generosity and now your call for us to continue to love and support one another in all of our choices that we make. i/the universe chose for me to not have children which has definitely set me apart from most of the other women in my life and it hasn’t always been the easiest choice. there have been lots of things that i have missed, but also other freedoms that i have gained. i have always stood for a woman’s right to choose and will continue to do so! there is a lot of flack going on in u.s.a. right now about angela jolie and her double masectomy to be a possible preventative for cancer. while i may not agree with her choice at all…..it is her life and her body and she must think she is doing the right thing for her and her life. all of the opinions are flinging around about what she should have done, but we can never know for another person what is right and what is wrong.

  7. Amen, Sister. I’m fortunate in that the women in my life are supportive of each other and I support other women. I’m a child of the 1970s who was raised by a feminist mother.

  8. Thank you for this!. It still surprises me that so many people forget or never seem to have known that the purpose of mainstream feminism was to give individual women more choices over our lives. With more women in a hyper competitive workforce and advertising and media promoting ever increasing standards of unattainable perfection it is not surprising that women have turned to judging one another so harshly. Life has become a never ending competition and in order to compete we must constantly compare ourselves to others and then beat the others. This leaves the question of how do you ‘beat’ another human at being human?. Can I ask for clarification about your comment “there is no right or wrong, only choices” did you mean from an ethical perspective? if so I have to disagree with you but if meant that any ethical choice is ok then I agree. Thanks again for this wisdom, I need to be reminded sometimes.

  9. So true, we do not celebrate our right of choice that our sisters before have given to us. Choice is what we need to remember. We have a choice! Thank you for reminding me! xxx

  10. Pingback: “In Search of Sisterhood” – Harnidh Kaur – The Raging Feminists

Leave a Reply