The face-less world which we live in has allowed us as women to create an illusion to those around us that we are united in our struggles and of our cause. We throw around statements like “Slay us, we are your dragons” and “Yaas bitch, Yaas” on social media; banding together to celebrate our fellow sisters and defending them whenever the chance comes against some of the problematic behaviours of men. Bring yourself down to the real world and away from the infamous “cloud”, and you find a reality which is very different. Are we even really united? – taking any opportunity to get one up on our fellow sister should the need arise. We find it so easy to insult the next woman instead of addressing firstly, our own insecurities and secondly, the very reason we find ourselves stepping on each other’s toes – men and their own problematic behaviours.
PATRIARCHY: Why does patriarchy make sisterhood difficult to attain?
The oppressor (men) succeeds by getting the oppressed (women) on board, who by accepting it, perpetuates despotism even further. We cannot deny that women are responsible for each other’s oppression because patriarchal norms have been indoctrinated in our psyche. We have given quite a lot of room to the necessity of men. We relate everything we do to men.
“Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses, possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of a man in twice its natural size’ – Virginia Woolf
Sisterhood for me has taken quite a different narrative to the above. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced oppression from women that were once in my life, and even those who weren’t but I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to tell a kinder tale.
Sisterhood in friendship: IT KNOWS NO BOUNDS. IT IS HONEST. IT IS ORGANIC. My friends are my chosen sisters. They didn’t walk into my life unsolicited, I led them in. Much like romantic relationships, friendships have to be built off of similar core values in order for them to be sustained. Respect, drive, loyalty, accountability and honesty are some of the core values that my friendships are based on. The loss of some of my old friendships was due to a lack of one or some of these values from the other party, and as a protective measure that served me, those sisterhoods had to come to an end – it happens.
Something that has helped my current friendships outlive great pains and difficult times is that we moved away from focusing on our differences but have magnified the things that make us similar. We may not communicate every day, in fact we don’t, but we choose each other every day. These are the very women who defend me, wipe away my tears, take care of me when I’m ill, encourage me when I’m at my lowest, lend me money if things are that bad and support my dreams. And at the very same time, these women will not hesitate to scold me, push me and even anger me just to protect me.
The intricacies of friendships will differ from person to person, but I think we can all agree in saying that an alignment in core values is an engine to the up-keep of a sisterhood.
Sisterhood in business: For a long time, I maintained the idea that men are the only reason that women in the work place or in business are not progressive – NOT TRUE. There is a sisterhood ceiling. The final barrier to women reaching the top is in actual fact… other women.
We can’t negate existing competition in the workspace, but it seems women often take it more personally than it actually is. And as a result, women could be damaging their own career prospects by over-reacting to competitive behaviour in the office.
BUT… we’re getting there, we’re getting better. Sisterhood in business is not dead, it is just beginning.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be in business with one of my great friends and I remember when we sat in on our first meeting about our partnership, we made pact that no matter how bad things may get and no matter how hard we may fight with each other, we will not give up on one another. When you’re independent you tend to tolerate less. And I know this not just from myself, but from my sisterhood – it is made up of no-nonsense-taking, independent women who will not hesitate to kick anything that does not serve them, straight to the nearest curb. But we knew we both wanted it badly enough, and we had something good here.
That is sisterhood. It is being able to separate the business and the friendship when need be, not because you’re not friends anymore when you walk into the office, but because business can get uncomfortably tense, that you know when it’s time to be Captain Save Our Friendship.
Sisterhood is far from a trite word one just throws around. Being your sister’s keeper and ‘point guard’ when needed should be a reflex, this is crucial in business. Sisterhood transcends and transforms us for the better. We know that every single achievement, mine or hers, will be celebrated because when I rise, indirectly, she rises too.
Actress Bindu puts it beautifully when she writes:
‘Women who understand how powerful they are do not give into envy over meaningless things, instead they fight to maintain the beautiful bond that is sisterhood. These are the real women who know that we need each other’s love and support to hold out in this world. Love and strength are the essence of being a woman. We must be that light of love that seals the bond and unique beauty of our sisterhood.’’- Bindu