It's time to get political, sisters.

We've been pondering the continued and relentless dominance of patriarchy and what is to be done. We asked guest blogger Beth Kennedy to tell us what she thought. Here is what she had to say:

Recently I've been inspired by Lisa Luxx, especially her spoken word piece “What Sisterhood Means.”

What does sisterhood mean to me? What does it mean to you? I thought I’d look a little deeper into what sisterhood could mean, what it does for women and how it can push us to stand up for ourselves.

The elastic band friendship

I’ll start off with sisterhood in friendship, rather than sisterhood in activism and gender politics. Not all close friendships involve people we see everyday. They can be with people who we see once a year...if that. There’s a natural ebb and flow with friendships based on sisterhood. Life happens and, just like sisterhood, it’s fluid. Sisterhood, in a non-political sense, can be when you haven’t seen a friend in a long time but she always remains in your thoughts and you still feel just as much love for her...and when you’re together again it’s like nothing has changed.

Lisa Luxx describes it in a bit more detail: “Yet when a sister disappears, as they do, as they need to, she never takes her love out of my chest. I choose to keep it, to save that space for her as I move forward with my life - continuing to grow and learn better how to be all the things I find the most honourable; practicing, failing and trying again how to be better in love and community.”

An army: solidarity in tough times

In the wider global community, sisterhood is an army. This collective of women inspired the #MeToo movement. Of course, we’re all unique but our sisterhood with one another means we are able to mirror each other.  We all lead very different lives, but women were united and using social media as a platform. Thanks to actress Alyssa Milano’s call to action on Twitter millions of women took to social media to share their own stories of sexual harassment and abuse experienced over the years. No matter what the magnitude of each experience, we all came together to highlight just how prevalent harassment and abuse against women actually is. It gave women empowerment. The movement made so many people realise our experiences have been downplayed or dismissed by society. This may also explain, in part, the use of the term 'sisters' by young gay male youtubers such as James Charles, who have taken the word 'sister' to be anything and anyone that aligns itself with them and what they love. It is used as a term for all people and possibly as a way of neutralising the gender binary but choosing the feminine in creating a collective noun for our 'family', being so linguistically rare we can think of few examples. Dogs are dogs unless they are bitches, where as in this space even your brother is your sister!

Let’s not forget the Women’s March both in Washington and the London. Women are coming together in solidarity during this volatile time to campaign for social and economic justice (among many others things) for women of all colours, sexualities, social classes, religions, disabilities...basically everyone who identifies as a woman. I can’t think of anything that better represents true sisterhood. You just have to look at the Women’s March guiding Principles to see this:

“We want to create space where all are welcome.

We are trying to build an intersectional women’s movement.”

The movement also pays homage to examples of sisterhood throughout history:

“We welcome vibrant collaboration and honour the legacy of the movements before us - the suffragists and abolitionists, the trade unionists, the feminist movement, the gay rights movement, anti-poll tax, anti-austerity, anti-war, support for refugees and migrants, environmental rights, anti-racism, anti-Islamophobia and more – by employing a decentralised, leader-full structure and focusing on an ambitious, fundamental and comprehensive agenda.”

A collective, a collaboration

Sisterhood doesn’t mean we need to be friends with all women. As Lisa Luxx says “Sisterhood is not friendship. It’s a woman akin related to you by the pain you’ve been in.”

That’s why it is essential that we collaborate together and work together whenever possible. We should never work against each other - we are essentially in the same boat but some women’s oars are smaller than others. Sisterhood is a space, whether online or in person, where your views are valid and respected no matter what your background. As women, we should trust our sisters, have each others’ backs in times of need and believe in each other throughout everything.

You really don’t have to get on with all women you meet. But it’s vital to remember we all share a bond for life. I’m not saying you should hug every woman you meet, just make it clear that you are on the same side. And yeah, unfortunately there are ‘sides’ because our patriarchal society has created them. Some examples include that glass ceiling at work, rape culture and toxic masculinity.

Nothing says anti-sisterhood more than women who are misogynistic. Believe it or not, some women don’t think women should have equal rights to men. Some even go so far as saying women shouldn’t be able to vote (you have to see it to believe it).

Sisterhood is knowing we have a camaraderie and with that camaraderie comes a duty. Like the suffragettes before us, we need to pave the way for the sisterhoods of the future. Generations of women will look to the past for inspiration, just as we did, and campaign for equal rights. As we each grow older, we should also become mentors to the younger generations of women. After all, passing down wisdom, truths and experiences will push us one step closer to equality.

I’ll leave you with one last quote, which I think sums up sisterhood in one sentence:

“You’re safe to do you when I’m in the room.”
Lisa Luxx, What Sisterhood Means

Main image photo by Jerry Kiesewetter

The Women’s March in London will be held on Saturday 19th January. More information can be found here.

women's march for bread and roses 19.01.19 

Useful links:


Older Post Newer Post

1 comment
  • Thank you for posting this, its powerful and beautiful.

    Rhonda Ziman on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published