Sunday, August 27, 2006

Is it really a sisterhood?

I’ve been thinking about sisterhood and if it honestly exists.

In kindergarten I had only one real friend, a boy. We are still friends. I was so shy that I couldn’t bring myself to even know how to play with the children. To this day my kindergarten teacher still remembers me. She has taught two of my cousin’s children. I was just that unforgettably shy. In grade school I had several friends boys and girls as friends. Something happens as we grow we seem to divide as our hormones race. Is this when the sisterhood develops and is this when a brotherhood happens?

I loved my girl friends in high school and they definitely still feel like family, but is that the definition of sisterhood?

In college one of my friends and I would know where the other was almost all the time. No kidding I could know just by thinking of her and know not only things like what store but what aisle she would be in. Drove my boyfriend crazy. Was that a sisterhood?

I have two very close friends now. I can’t tell where they are when I think of them but I can call if I need them. Is this a sisterhood?

I’ve noticed that on some of our blogs when the subject of women comes up women can hit fast and hard if they think someone is about to step on a woman’s rights or what they think the rights are. Is this a sisterhood quick to jump on the man in moment’s time?

A blog that I read by a very smart man was hit hard because he simply put in a link about how men and women have different brains.

We do! For those who haven’t realized it yet we do. I could put all the stereo typical reasoning jargon hoping not to be hit myself but I won’t. I will say look as far as your bathroom. Does he have makeup and perfume and things to brush his eyebrows? (I know he needs it) Will you find facial scrub and six kinds of moisturizers in a basket? If you give him a seashell will he put it in the bathroom?

Now don’t get me wrong on this I think the idea of a sisterhood is great as long as it’s open to other sisters. I’ve seen how quickly women can shut others out. Heck I’ve had that ugly door slammed in my face. I thought that volunteering for a women’s group would be fun, I’d get to know other women better from my church not to mention women from the area. After struggling to get to know them for a year and a half I gave up. I remember the exact moment I made the decision. I was in Minnesota for a convention, as I walked to the convention center alone I took in what God had made. I took long deep breaths allowing fall to seep into my senses. The leaves were beautifully colored in reds, yellows, and browns. The damp cool air made me wish I could walk forever. I stopped to ask for directions from a doctor’s office, the doctor himself took my hand and pointed to the center. I didn’t want to walk in I wanted to see the city, I thought about my mom, I wondered if she enjoyed any of Minnesota while dad was in college.

My thoughts were taken back to reality when I reached the entrance I walked here alone because they walked away as I headed for the center. They didn’t say they were going a different way as we walked I turned to see them walking away, the wrong way. No we were not a sisterhood. One lady asked me if I was ok and said she was worried about me. One not the other nine or so. Why didn’t I stop and follow? Two reasons, one they walked away after being given the correct directions as I went through the door. Two they were going the wrong way. I felt that the whole time in that ministry as if we were trying to wrap a box in the most beautiful wrapping only to find it empty once opened. It was a disappointing gift.

We met nightly to go over what had gone on in our meetings finally someone spoke what had been on my heart about trust and the lack of it. I chose not to tell what I felt I refused to hurt people. After the meeting one person spoke to me about what she had been saying behind my back, they were lies. I confronted the other person involved she denied it and tried to give blame to others.

Is a sisterhood suppose to be so hard?

Is a sisterhood a way of protecting women?

Is a sisterhood a way of pushing men out?

Is it really a sisterhood?

I’m not saying that I don’t like being around women I just wonder if sometimes we go too far when we agree to protect the other sister.

I prefer the idea of a brotherhood and a sisterhood being a familyhood.

Don’t get me wrong though, ya just don’t mess with my Cowboys. ;-} because sisters, those are my brothers.


codepoke said...

I think I wrote at one point that sisterhood was both real and complex.

My ex is cute and abrasive by turns. I had to watch as she was accepted and rejected by her sisters by turns. Like anything else human, there was a brutality to the way she was treated when she was "out." It seems to me that men live by hierarchy and women live by inclusion/exclusion.

Both live by love, and both live with sin.

That said, there is a way that the sisters came together for her during certain times of their lives that men never experience. Women see and respond to little things that men just don't. And when they do it, they do it together. When something would happen to a woman in our church, the other sisters would descend upon her home like a flock of starlings. No one was in charge, but everyone moved in the same direction at the same time, and that wounded sister was helped.

Unfortunately, the same thing happened when one sister would anger all the rest of the sisters. That flock of starlings would abandon her as one.

I don't know that anything in the body amazed me as much as watching all the sisters doing the right thing at the same time, without anyone coming up with the idea.

Familyhood is what happens when you combine sisterhood with brotherhood.

Milly said...

I need to be very careful about how I use my words with a sisterhood. Why? Because they can strike as you know and they can come in hard thinking that they are protecting the “sisterhood” when in reality it’s harming it.

The thing is if we can turn so fast to strike then were we a sisterhood to begin with?

Seems to me that so many are cliques not sisterhoods and I think the definitions are different.

codepoke said...

Amen, Milly

Karen said...

Good post, Milly. I'm not sure right now what sisterhood is..or if I even trust it...Kevin, I can relate to your wife's situation...I've been rejected by what I thought was a sister more than once. I also see how men treat each other. That can be just as bad---each gender certainly has its own talent for hurting.
I wish we could get it right.

codepoke said...

If I see sisterhood as a flock of starlings, moving as one and almost mystically following the same invisible compass, I see the brotherhood as geese.

We fly in a V formation to a more or less mutually agreed upon destination. One goose has the lead, and everyone else is kind of following him (unpleasant), and riding on his labors (much easier.) One at a time, we jump out of formation to prove that we should be in the lead, and we quickly see whether we are followed. It's tough for us to have two formations, so there's a lot of stress whenever that happens.

With us guys, it's not about who needs help, but about whether we are getting anywhere. If we lose a person or two, that's too bad, but if we are pressing forward, then things are good. Our eyes are on the prize.

Hence, we need our sisters, and our sisters need us. If we lack sisters, we soon bleed to death. And if we lack brothers, we are not moving forward.

Hence, I fight for egalitarianism.

Karen said...

boy, hit that nail on the head!

Andreia said...

Im sorry that I havent been around on this conversation. it is a very interesting one.

I have found "sisterhood" to be a disappointment probably more often than it has not been. Sad to say. I think women have a difficult time getting along with one another.

I will say that this has certainly eased a lot as I have gotten older. In my opinion there is such a need for leadership from older women. Young women, especially those that are competitive mothers, need to hear from those older women how they can seek the best for their families without allowing it to consume them in that most unholy of ways.

I dont see the same kind of positioning with men and maybe that is because my husband is older and established in his career so that others dont or wont try to push. It seems the times that there were conflicts, that they were about WORK and not personalities like it happens with women.

Im all for truckin in a bunch of inner city single moms into suburban churches to help teach acceptance and tolerance.

Karen said...

Go, Andreia! I agree...guys don't get personal, or so I've noticed with my husband's groups, and the Boy Scouts, and my sons. I so agree with you on the "as I've gotten older..." aspect.

Milly said...

I have seen in Boy Scouts some of the men get petty, I think it was because we were women on there turf. Some would also get pretty ugly with some of the guys. How the men handled it was different then the women. We tend to not want to let go until the issue is resolved they just move on leaving it as if it never happened, we’d point it out and they’d give us a huh??? what??? look.

codepoke said...

Exactly, Milly.

Guys don't get personal, but we don't get intimate either. We don't work problems through. We work around problems on the way to our goals.

DugALug said...


Sorry that I am later in the game.

I asked my wife about this. My wife has 2 real sisters, the addition of my sister, and 4 or 5 women who are closer than her sisters.

Her answer kind of surprised me. She said that it was easier to maintain a real sisterhood with her distant friends (like ones from college or ones we don't see that often).

Why? I aksed? Her comment was that women are teritorial, when women are together, they stake out their land and protect it with all that they are. This doesn't help the sisterly-ties.

Most men, by contrast, are like pack-animals. We group, posture, and search for acquisition. It is not an issue for guys to hang out in packs. We revel in the competition, and we are less phased in loss. We certainly are less-likely to drop them, after losing.

Of her group of 'sisters' my sister was the dangler (they aren't close at all), followed by her own two. I found that kind of interesting.

One friend was someone from our church who discipled here in her early days of receiving the Lord. They are, and will always be close, she thinks that is because the relationship of leader/disciple was established early. Even though this person treets her as a loved peer in every way, that line was defined by their initial purpose.

As for me, I have tons of friends and quite a few that I would call true 'brothers'.

God Bless

Milly said...

This post has been very interesting to me in that women seem to hold on to the pain or experience it in a much deeper way when hurt. The cool thing to me is that while men brush off a male encounter of the same kind you guys hurt for us women as if you want to protect us. You big burley boys want us ladies to be happy. Not poking fun! I love it! My man was very unhappy about the treatment I received from some of the women at church. He’s the same way about our friends.

You Cowboys are so cool. I love ya!