Although we have been taught that there is no worse enemy for a woman than another woman, it is time to change. Sorority invites us to undertake that path.
Surely you have heard many times expressions that transmit and reinforce some gender stereotypes, which dictate what women are, do, say and feel. And this is how stereotypes operate: they form discourses that justify actions, which place us in specific places within our relationships with others.
Think about your relationship with your family, your partner, your children, your friends, your school or work environment. Stop to think now, how do you relate to other women, in any of these spaces? Socially, they have taught us that women establish competitive relationships with other women and that, therefore, we have no worse enemy than another woman. Under this assumption, attitudes and feelings have been attributed to us such as envy, presumption, gossip, little solidarity with other women and the feeling that we will hardly be able to find a sincere friend throughout our lives.
The urgency of sisterhood among women
Although many of these ideas have shaped our way of seeing the world, today more than ever it is necessary to stop rethinking them. In the framework of incessant struggles for women’s rights, of expressions of gender violence – from the most subtle to feminicides, increasingly close to our surroundings – it is impossible to think that we can remain on the sidelines.
In this sense, feminist studies have proposed the term sisterhood to reflect on and propose a new type of relationships between women. This comes from the Latin soror , which means sister or companion. The intention of this word is to convey the idea of a relationship between women-sisters, who although they are recognized as different, are accompanied by a common intention. But how to recognize and accompany other women? Here are some ideas about how you can be part of this new way of being women, with other women.
1. Understand that we all live in situations of injustice
Perhaps this is the most difficult step to achieve, since we live in increasingly individualistic societies in which, if the damage, injustice or abuse is not directed at ourselves or one of our own, we hardly feel offended or hurt .
Therefore, sisterhood implies an awareness and a pact: understanding that women live in a context of injustice, discrimination and violence that affects us all, at different levels and expressions. That a woman earns less for the same job as a man, that a girl is insulted by her boyfriend, that a mother is beaten by her husband or that any of us are attacked because we are women, is part of the same situation of injustice. The pact then consists of working so that this stops happening.
2. Contribute with specific actions
Generally, when we think of social problems as big as this, we feel that we can do nothing to change something so vast and complex. However, from our most intimate spaces we are capable of making changes that are reflected in society. If we are aware that each one is the link in a huge chain of women, we can create bonds that make us stronger to face adverse situations. Therefore, the support that we can give to an elderly woman, to our colleagues from school or work, the participation that we have in organized women’s groups and raising our voice in the face of any injustice or type of violence, are commitments that we must assume.
3. Be more than supportive
Although solidarity implies a feeling of unity around common interests, the challenge facing us to think and act from sisterhood is to recognize that what brings us together in interest is the fact of being women. In other words, although there are women who fight for particular causes that we may not share, it is necessary to recognize the right they have to defend themselves and think about how we can collaborate with them.
Among women practice solidarity, not envy
To consider ourselves sisters, companions and friends, share experiences, provide emotional support and seek solutions to situations of injustice, is to recognize the attributes that have been imposed on us. Attributes that do not define what we are, or what we want to be.