Tuesday, 10 December 2013

What happened to Sisterhood?

I’m going to have to write this blog quite carefully, in that, my issue is women attacking other women. And thus in talking about it, I must err on the side of not attacking those who should know better. Namely, other women.

Let’s start with the women who have come out against #teamnigella. There’s  one that really springs to mind, and I’m not going to give her more publicity by naming her, but she appears to be making a living out of attacking other women – for being fat, for not bringing up their children in the way she thinks is correct, or indeed, for leaving a millionaire who was probably abusing his wife emotionally and mentally as well as physically. It upsets me and angers me that anyone would think this is a good way to earn a crust. It especially angers me when it’s a woman. Because we need all the help and support we can get. And we need it most from our fellow women.

I had to think back – have I been one of those women in my time? And honestly, my answer is probably yes. When was that? When I was young. When I didn’t know better. When I was insecure and defensive. As we all are at some point right? And it manifests itself in different ways. We are critical of other women’s appearance (to be fair, I still am on occasion. Though usually when they are on the telly, which I think to some extent makes all people, male and female, fair game), maybe because that makes us feel better? We monopolize or manipulate friendships, or indeed isolate others, through fear and jealousy and all those weird emotions that make friendships, in our youth, almost as important as love affairs. We will do almost anything to be the chosen one by the desired male. ‘Chicks before dicks’ is a phrase that I think only really starts to take hold, in reality, once we’re at least mid twenties, if not later. 

So, when you grow up, when you’ve sorted your shit out a little bit, when you’re a tad more secure and settled, then you should have the capacity, the empathy, the foresight, to be a proper woman. And by a proper woman, I mean a woman who has other womens’ backs. Who recognises that for all our progress, we still live in a fairly patriarchal world, and we have to fight. Fight for survival, fight for recognition, and fight for the greater good. Because I fundamentally believe that ultimately, when we are properly equal, it will be better all round.

Which brings me back round to the woman who shall not be named. Who tweeted a couple of days ago ‘Sisterhood? Don’t speak to me of this thing you call the sisterhood. Stand at any school gate and you will learn it is entirely contrived’ and today that ‘If I was a man people would not be offended by me’. You’re right Miss. I wouldn’t be so offended. Because sadly, I still expect that of men sometimes. But not from women. 

Sisterhood comes from being happy with your lot, and thus being happy for everyone else that has theirs. So it takes work – on yourself, and on your relationships with others. Which means that I look at a woman who is constantly putting down other women, and I surmise that she isn’t very happy or secure, and I wonder why that is. I think Sisterhood is inbuilt, in our DNA, but that we’ve somehow forgotten about it. A woman I met many years ago said that our modern conveniences have made us forget our support of each other. She talked about the old ages when women would go the lake and fetch water and wash clothes (I’m aware the men should have been doing that too J) and they’d have a natter, they’d listen to each other. There was a daily gathering – a support network like no other. But I fear we’ve got too fussed about designer clothes, and house prices, and X Factor and all the daily crap that surrounds us and takes us away from what is important. 

But that doesn’t mean our sisterhood is lost. It just means we have to find new ways to reinvigorate it, within a modern world and to pass that on to our kids. And we have to avoid the media that perpetuates women attacking other women. And we have to make a concerted effort to be nicer and kinder to each other.  And, alas, understanding of those women who aren’t quite there yet. 

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