Navigating Sisterhood

Women are consistently held to higher standards than men are, even by other women, even by feminists. Its interesting because how I personally feel about that is two-fold. On the one hand I recognize the sexism inherent in expecting women to be pure, perfect, unsullied by fault but on the other hand I know that women are capable of change and how they think, feel and act about the world actually matters.

Karl Marx was a chauvinist who consistently mismanaged his family’s meager wealth – making them live in squalor and poverty while also impregnating servant girls in his spare time. He was a fucking prick, however very few people would sit and chastise this fucking prick about his personal life, his faults when discussing his ideas. They are irrelevant to the equation in almost everyone’s eyes. What woman of thought and brilliance can ever say the same as to her legacy?

A woman’s work will always be sullied by her personal faults because in order for a woman to express ideas she must first be free from the stain of her human error. As this is impossible no woman’s body of work will ever be appreciated in the full glory that a man’s would and has.

I wonder though, while this is certainly a double standard that must end, would the solution be to overlook fault entirely? I’m not sure I have an answer to that really.

I’m reading Sonia Johnson’s “Going Out of Our Minds” right now and some parts are electrifying but others really put me off – There’s some interesting passages about the phenomenon of “trashing” and the necessity of loving women.  I wonder if Johnson is perhaps influenced by her previous Mormon faith in the need to love so indiscriminately.  I’ve noticed a correlation between the phenomenon of trashing and the sisterhood-of-perpetual-love-for-every-woman-no-matter-what. Its that same kind of hollow feeling of love you get when you walk into a church and the people basically want you to become another member. Its all “nice” until you get under the surface and see all the backstabbing and petty shit that goes on.

So what is to be done? As a feminist it obviously hurts more when women are cruel or mean than when a man does it because we know that somewhere inside them they are capable of better. Unlike men we know they are capable of change. [For example: I also know that I am always going to be fighting an uphill battle with some women because of prejudice against class, lesbianism, looks, professionalism (their internalized misogyny) etc. ]
I suppose my only answer, and bit of advice for women this resonates with is to remember that we can’t control anyone else’s behavior. That we have a right to say no to that which doesn’t feel good and that friends are often better than sisters. That some battles aren’t worth fighting and that some resources aren’t worth exhausting.
Try not to hold women to too high a standard whilst simultaneously knowing when to say you’ve had enough.
Good luck.

In friendship.

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4 responses to “Navigating Sisterhood

  1. Great post! Interesting & weird too in that I started writing a post yesterday about this Sisterhood thing feminism talks about; will take me some time to think out and then articulate. Thanks for the timely food for thought, I always appreciate reading your views. I like your advice at the end and would add that we’re all works in progress, always evolving and sometimes fumbling, bumbling and making mistakes along the way, and hopefully learning life’s lessons in more gentle, compassionate ways versus judgmental, harsh ones, towards ourselves and others.

    Sincerely,
    FR

  2. This really touched me. Thank you.

  3. Women shouldn’t expect each other to be stupid, that is, to include another women in projects who is cruel, or who doesn’t share their ideology, and should be able to discuss that person’s and their own shortcomings openly to the extent it is relevant to do so. But not to the point, or for the purpose of, putting them down to provide others with an ego boost. How could we love each other or ourselves without admitting our faults? Sometimes all we need is to share our weaknesses and know that we aren’t to blame for our shortcomings in order for them to fall away. Loving another person should never mean being abused by that person or kept from becoming one’s truest self. Loving a difficult person might just mean holding the truth in our hearts that there is a different person underneath all those layers of male-imposed dysfunction, without subjecting ourselves to that poison, until that person is ready to be loved in a deeper way.

  4. Hi! Great website! I agree with your writings. There is a very strong emphasis in our culture concerning women and girls to be “perfect.” Our “behavior” is scrutinized 100 times more than men’s. It seems women become more famous rather for who they fuck, instead of their accomplishments! With men (like Bill Cosby), for example, was, in most people’s views “the perfect father figure.” Little did they know what he was up to in his spare time (the serial raping of sooo many women and girls!) I bet even now, some people are in denial of his terrible actions, and refuse to see him as the scumfuck that he really is! Men are not held to the same standards that women are in this society when it comes to their accomplishments vs. their personal lives. I never knew what a scumbag Karl Marx was until I read your blog today. Everyone says how great he is, even though he was clearly a depraved rapist!

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