Be True to Your Sisters
by Suzannah Gilman
When my daughter was four and in pre-k she had an experience with female classmates being mean to each other and to her. At four. “Girls are stupid,” I told her, “and not because they’re not intelligent, not because they can’t learn, because they haven’t learned to be good to one another.” Those might not have been the best words to use, but I talked to my daughter a lot about the important things, so that’s not the only conversation we had on the subject. I taught my daughter that when she comes across a girl she might be jealous of for any reason, that’s her cue that she should be friends with that girl.
I was brought up differently. When my mother said, “You’re prettier than her,” and “You’re smarter than that girl,” her intent was to build an animosity and competitiveness in me. She succeeded. Luckily for me, I grew up to be my own woman despite that.
The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn. – Gloria Steinem
I grew to realize that I could make friends with the smart girls, the pretty girls, and the girls who weren’t remarkable for either of those things but for other things I saw and appreciated in them. I realized that I could be friends with women who didn’t share my political or religious views and that, perhaps, friendships that bridged those spans were even more valuable for the differences they overcame.
Imagine how my heart leapt the other day when I saw a photo of my daughter’s roommate on Facebook. It’s a photo of her at ComiCon, dressed as a blonde, beautiful, tough character, with another young woman dressed as the same character, though they were still quite distinguishable from one another. Two blonde, beautiful, strong women side by side—and the caption made it clear that they had each embraced the other, embraced the beauty, the strength, and the differences. They hope to see each other again. This is the world I want to live in. This is the world where we are true to our sisters, where we support one another rather than pit ourselves against one another.
We need to remember across generations that there is as much to learn as there is to teach. – Gloria Steinem
This is the world I live in with my Gloria Sirens sisters. Whatever we are in the blogosphere, we are first and foremost true to one another. We first and foremost support one another. We first and foremost rejoice in each other’s victories, large or small. We leap out from the deep and sing as though we are fearless, when in fact we are not. But we know we have our sisters behind us for support, so we do it. We sing our songs.
Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That’s their natural and first weapon. She will need her sisterhood. -Gloria Steinem