The sisterhood wound, at its core, often shows up as a wound around belonging. We live in a world where belonging is established through systems which clearly define the class of ‘belonging’ and the class of ‘outsider’ and then deliver privileges to those that belong. We’re broken into binaries (male and female, white and black, cis and trans, straight and queer, ably bodied and disabled, rich and poor, thin and fat) and then those binaries are placed in hierarchical relationship with one another, the former on top, the latter on the bottom.
All of these systems pitch women against one another. They encourage competition rather than collaboration. They see us fighting for space in the small and narrow boxes that confine us rather than looking beyond those boxes to what keeps us contained in the first place. We start to unconsciously define ourselves as either insider or outsider, aligning ourselves with the source of power, or abandoning traditional power structures altogether in search of freedom from constraint.
And as we try to navigate our way through these complex waters we also end up focusing on problems outside of ourselves rather than questioning how these things persist within and influence our perceptions, our behaviour, and even the gut feelings and intuitive guidance we receive. Which means that when the sisterhood wound remains unresolved, we find ourselves:
Some of the ways we do that in our program Women Speaking Up include:
Yes, some people are mean and judgmental and not the kind of people you’d choose to spend time with. Many of those people may be women. But I wonder if, in making that assessment in the future, you might also remember that those women are probably also walking around, impacted by the sisterhood wound. When we remember this, we’re able to start different conversations on social media, with our friends, and inside our communities. Rather than focusing on individual problems, we might remember these problems are also systemic. Which means we can start to have broader conversations about exactly why girls can be so bitchy and passive aggressive whilst boys will often resolve an issue by punching one other and moving on. It all comes back to what we’re comfortable with being seen to do, who we’re told we’re allowed to be. Until we break down all layers of this, the people we are, and the communities we build, will continue to be negatively impacted by systemic wounding.
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