The longer I know my women friends, the more I understand that aware, searching-for-the-answers, daring-to-push-against-the-norm, women form the core of my life. Discovering the wit and wisdom of women happens when you ask for insight into weird or complex situations. They ease the burden you’re in the midst of trying to rectify or repair. Women are there through bad break-ups, overwhelming grief, or the chore of painting your living room on a rainy Saturday.
You see women’s fortitude when we run our first half marathon, come out on top of breast cancer, or shatter a glass ceiling we’ve battled against.
Women share their courage when we speak out against injustice. When we share the truths or our hearts, or boldly standing up and saying it’s time for a change.
Sisterhood is more than a 1970s catchword
The Cambridge.org dictionary offers my favorite definition of sisterhood: “a feeling of shared interests and support among women.”
Stretching sisterhood to include more than your relatives means your friendships will be broad and deep and rich. You’ll build camaraderie with an endless array of women, strengthening your life.
I’m not an overly political woman. I have not been actively involved in getting women to register to vote, haven’t been a NOW member in decades, nor do I volunteer for our Congressman, although I support his efforts. We can each uphold our politics without riding a soapbox. I try to promote the women who revolve into and spin through my days. I work to enlighten the unenlightened with actions and words that slice quietly through barriers against women and our issues.
It isn’t, therefore, the politically silent women who trouble me.
Although our society (many societies) is still sexist and male-dominated, it isn’t this situation that causes me the most concern. It will take years for Hollywood to stop displaying women as sex objects while saying they support the #MeToo movement.
There will be change as more women become directors and producers and scriptwriters and leading actors. The showing of deep cleavage and wearing of impossibly high spike heels by women in demanding jobs, the scenes shot in strip clubs (boggles my mind to see this on Law & Order SVU) so viewers glimpse nearly naked women — will lessen. When that happens, the casual, subliminal desensitizing of the unacceptability of women as sex objects will change. I believe it.
None of that scares me the most. It is the un-evolved woman who brings me great fright — the one not trying to lift up women around her. The woman trying to control the women in her world who are striving to be their best. A few years back, a writer was beginning her publishing career. I bought every book and promoted them when I could, even though I tired of the stagnation of the characters. I didn’t want to seem like sour grapes since my mystery was still being written. When I published my writer’s travel journal and showed her, she glanced at the cover and said that’s nice. She handed it back to me and changed the subject to her latest release. I was crushed by the lack of joy she showed in my accomplishment.
These women keep other women “in their place” more than a man does.
Madeline Albright spoke the brilliant line, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” These are the women who terrify me. Without unity, where are we?
The cliche of us as nurturers
Then there are the hollow women. These are the ones living through others, who don’t elevate themselves by celebrating passions of their own. They perpetuate the fallacy that women are the only nurturers. While we do shine with the forte to do as Albright said and build others up, men also nurture. For us to deny cultivating what we need to flourish is to keep ourselves bound to the nurturing myth. Not offering or asking for help, counsel, or mentoring drives away the very women we need, segregating ourselves more, and harming our spirit deeper.
When we unleash our mettle, our influence and loudly announce to the world who we are, we create a whirlwind of energy that spirals out and comes back from the unique people in our orbits.
Being powerful women is not about warring with men. There is no merit to increasing the distance between the sexes. Males and females are as different as night and day and like disparities between religions and races, our contrasts should be celebrated, not negated.
Look around your world and be amazed at the indomitable women you know. They’re in your church, your work place, and among your circle of friends. These are the women who work boldly with bravado and quietly with inner grit making the world a greater place.
Women are spinning vortexes of vitality and resilience. We are a band of sisters full of character, aptitude, and vast desires to always be better, be more, and achieve the next goal.
We become these grand people by the honest giving of ourselves to each other. By sharing the search for the ongoing, ever-evolving answers to who we are — boundless and remarkable.
This ongoing metamorphosis of indefatigable women is the credo of true Sisterhood.