Being a big sister is a lot of things, but after all this time, I still see growing up with my brother as one extended adventure. Even though we haven't lived under the same roof for about seven years, our relationship is one that I value above most others in my life. It's also pretty awesome that, in a lot of ways, we both identify as feminists. Here are five things that feminist siblings do — and by that, I mean five things that my brother and I do, because hey, January is a time of reflection and this is me reflecting on how much I like being a sister.
I'm always wary of articles that make generalizations about what a feminist looks like. It's such an individualized movement at this point that, in order to be accurate, you have to get really general. And a lot of these things that I say feminist siblings do apply to siblings who don't necessarily identify as feminists. Every group of siblings fights. Most siblings, despite their differences, will defend one another from outsiders (even if they literally just finished pulling each other's hair). But it's what we argue about, and it's how we argue, and why we defend one another, that perhaps sets our relationships apart.
These things that my brother and I do? They're some of the defining elements of our relationship; they're also feminist. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
1. We Argue — A Lot
My brother and I don't always get along, and we don't always see eye to eye. But surrounding yourself only with people who see the world exactly as you do does everyone involved a disservice. Plus, it's incredibly boring. Every time my brother and I have a "discussion" (read: snarling, hissing yell-talk), I walk away with a strengthened, revised opinion on a lot of things, feminism included. If you can't debate and defend your opinions, then you should maybe take a second look at them, nah mean?
2. And We Hold One Another Accountable
If anyone is going to call me out for behaving badly, I'd prefer it to be my brother, and vice versa (or at least, I think it's true on his end). He's seen me at my most brattiest, my saddest, my angriest — and if I say or do something shitty, he'll say something. And I'll say something. And we make each other better.
3. But We Also Stand Up For Each Other...
Even though he's been taller than me for about 14 years now, I would still open up a proverbial can of whoop-ass for him. We protect our own.
4. ...Because We Respect One Another's Choices
A big part of feminism is freedom of choice. Thankfully, my brother and I are both liberal-minded humans whose opinions tend to fall within the same belief system, so there has yet to be a huge, divisive topic on which we stand in opposition. But at some point, it's bound to come up. And once we're done arguing and debating and yelling, we'll eventually settle into a begrudging respect, even if we don't agree with them.
5. And Love Each Other Without Pretense