4 Little Ways Feminism Makes Me A Better Sister
Although sisterhood is commonly invoked in feminism, it's generally in the figurative sense — spiritual bonds, rather than the familial variety. Today, however, we're tackling sisterhood at its most literal: All the ways feminism makes me a better sister, according to my own totally objective and not at all unbiased opinion. The sister in question might object to my self-bestowed title of Best Sister Ever, but that's probably because she's still irritated about the time I snagged the family copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before she got to read it. (Whatever, Rosie. You snooze, you lose.)
Decade-long Harry Potter-inspired feuds aside, my sister and I are actually pretty close in temperament as well as age: We're both writers, a little too fond of cats, and spend most of our free time ranting about the patriarchy. Although our method of communicating with each other has been described in the past as "stoic," "far too sarcastic," and "reminiscent of Loki and Thor," the truth is we get along better than many siblings — and at least part of that is the result of our shared feminist values.
The patriarchy tends to pit all women against each other, but this is doubly true of sisters, whose shared backgrounds often cause them to be seen as direct competitors. Fortunately, that's where gender equality comes in to save the day. Everyone's definition of feminism is different, but it probably won't come as a surprise that my own involves supporting other women, including (and perhaps especially) my sister. Feminism has its obvious effects on our relationship — we both make an effort not to compete with each other, for the reasons just discussed — but it also affects us in more subtle ways. Let's take a look at a few examples below.
1. I Check Up On Her Health
Checking up on your sister's health may not seem like a radical notion, but it's a pretty big deal when you consider the taboo surrounding women's anatomy. We're taught that menstruation is disgusting, vaginas are weird, and breasts are shameful except in a sexual setting. None of this is true, of course, but in such a society, women's health often flies under the radar — which is why it's so important to openly discuss things like IUDs, period cramps, and other similarly taboo topics.
2. I Share My Ideas Of Feminism
Barring any recent poor decisions, aka staying up too late the night before, my sister and I get dinner at least once a week — ostensibly to catch up, but more often than not, it turns into loud, furiously-gesticulated rants about the patriarchy. Not only is this super fun for everyone involved (except perhaps the nice elderly couple at a nearby table), but it also allows us the space to speak freely about gender issues. We may disagree on some topics, but such discussions are incredibly important to informing our personal definitions of feminism.
3. We Stick Up For Each Other
It's no secret that sexism happens on a daily basis, but for many women, speaking out about microaggressions doesn't accomplish much. Assuming anyone believes us, which is less common than you'd think, we're usually told to brush it off and move on. When my sister talks about sexism in her everyday life, I take it seriously — and vice versa. One of my fondest memories is the time she laid a verbal smackdown on an older student who sexually harassed me when I was just starting high school. Good times.
4. We Accept Each Other's Choices
My sister and I are similar in many ways, but we differ in some pretty significant areas. Most notably, she's been in a monogamous relationship for years, while I've spent most of my adult life enjoying the single life as I wait for Ruby Rose to come to her senses and propose to me. We have very different priorities, but that doesn't mean we try to "fix" the other. She doesn't try to set me up with anyone because she knows that's not on my radar, and in the same way, I try not to infringe on her time with her boyfriend. For me, feminism isn't about a prescribed lifestyle, whether it's being single or settling down; rather, it's about the freedom to do whatever makes us happy.