What is sisterhood? What does it really mean? Is it actually present in today’s society? Do you see real examples of a sisterhood within your immediate circle? Do you have any active sister circles in your community? What value do you bring amongst your network of women, young and old?
It’s great to have a strong sisterhood in your network and commonality among women. However, make no mistake, having a sisterhood should not be to the detriment of your connection or love for men. It should enhance and help develop male and female relationships. It should not be a forum of male bashing. Men provide an equal balance for feminine energies. When it works, it can be beautiful, but how much of that sisterhood is a reality?
What if you call upon a sister for help? Sure you can get a sister to choose an outfit, or go out and celebrate your birthday? Everyone loves a celebration, but which of your girls is ready to trawl through the shops to help you find that perfect outfit to make you look your best? Do your besties even want you to look your best?
A friend of mine had recently bought a dress, a stunning blue bodycon, to celebrate her mate’s birthday. The celebrant then asked to view the dress. Days later, it was revealed that the celebrant had decided to buy practically the same style dress in the same colour. This would clearly cause an awkward situation. So my friend was then in two minds as to what she should wear to the coming celebration. Should she wear her new dress and fear judgment of attending, only to outshine the celebrant? Or should she pick another dress? What amazed me in all this is that the celebrant put her in such a situation. It was completely unnecessary, and suggests signs of insecurity and perhaps jealously.
Another scenario stemmed from a group discussion I heard amongst a group of women. This time it was in regard to life choices regarding marriage and children. Some women who were approximately under or around the age of thirty displayed distinct fear of being unmarried and childless after forty. There isn’t anything wrong with aspiring to these societal ideals; however, during discourse there was an uncomfortable tone when the older ladies advised the younger ones. They merely advised that life has had its twists and turns and it may not be that simple. There was clear demographic divide. Some of the younger women believed that fertility complications were more of an older woman’s issue. Interestingly, these days, young women in their teens, face complications with heavy periods and polycystic ovaries syndrome is now extremely common. What I found sad was that it seemed that these women seemed to be in competition with each other and looked down upon the older women if these goals were not met. Being married and having children is clearly a badge of honour, and why not? Having a committed partner and children should be celebrated but it should not become something that serves as the yardstick of success. Not every woman feels maternal or wishes to commit for one reason or another. The pressure women put themselves under is huge. Whatever their reasons, they are only answerable to themselves. Men do not seem to have this pressure. I sensed a little manipulation there; no one is immune to the morals/ideals of their cultural barometers but it should be a tool and not a whip.
I am all for the cultivation of strong families, man, woman and child, but how many women are pushed to these ideals and find themselves resentful of their situation years later, wishing they had made different choices? We applaud and love to hear stories of women with successful families, however, does having the husband and 2.4 children always amount to a joyful existence? These sisters should have been sharing experiences and learning from each other, the successes as well as the mistakes. Sisterhood was definitely dead in that room.
A sister who was unhappy with her situation should have been able to feel free to ask for advice from other women who are successful in that particular area, but where it became competition there was no forum for that. Facebook, Instagram and the likes have not helped as well, as the onslaught of television programming that is created to pitch catfights of women against women. We have The Real Housewives of various cities, Love and Hip Hop as well as the recent Sisterhood program based on Pastors wives. It doesn’t stop there. We often see female celebrities pitched against each other based on twitter ‘battles’. The manipulation by the media to sell a non-event is tremendous. I have a younger sister, we fight all the time, but when it’s time to make up and support each other, we do it. Primarily because we are blood and I genuinely want to see her do well in life. I love (some) of the influences I have clearly had in on her life (Dress sense – choice of men, maybe not). Hopefully she has learnt where I have made mistakes and will grow in her own way through them.
So where do we go from here?
Everything in small steps, support your sisters where possible, share your experiences and be open. Start a conversation, maybe even create a small sister circle yourself. It could start off as a monthly girly pampering session. You could hire a mobile beautician, get a lil pedicure done and have a laugh together. Hopefully, it will grow and it will become a space where you can all unabashedly share your hopes and fears. We have so much that we can learn from each other. Let’s do it.