Why Feminism Should Rediscover Sisterhood

Happy 2013 everyone! I hope everyone made it over more or less intact, and that your Januaries aren’t shaping up to be as horrible as mine. Quick whinge: I’m  horribly broke, not drinking, battling with a minor health issue and to top things off, my birthday is coming up and because I was too lazy to make any plans, I’ll spend the day at the office and I have just made my own birthday cake to take with me. However, my last 26 birthdays were pretty great, so in the words of Soldier Boy, I was probably due a crap one to balance things out.

Anyway. I realise that once again, it has been a long ole’ time since I’ve written anything of note, partly due to work commitments and partly due to inate laziness, but also because I haven’t really found anything close enough to my heart to write about. And at least that last bit has now changed.

As an avid follower of the feminist blogosphere, including, but not ending with, The Vagenda and Jezebel, I couldn’t help but notice a certain trend that I find somewhat worrying: namely that lately, is has become increasingly difficult to find articles where readers aren’t screaming blue murder in the comment section about “class privilege”. This Jezebel piece on unpaid internships is a prime example. Ignoring the elephant in the room that endless unpaid internships are not a female-only problem, it illuminates perfectly one of the core issues young graduates face: How to get that work experience that every employer asks for, but never helps to build up? The article itself is a well-researched, readable piece of astute social commentary, yet fifty per cent of the comments concern themselves with the fact that the writer’s parents were apparently wealthy enough to support her while she worked for free – “So much class privilege”, the first comment reads.

Now, whilst I understand that as a white, middle-class, (currently) straight(ish) cis woman I cannot claim to speak for All Womankind Ever (a fact that Times columnist Caitlin Moran has as yet to realise, although I am not a fan of the current witch hunt), I would like some of my fellow feminists to realise that nor can non-white, non-middle-class, non-straight ladies. Of course we must aim to be as inclusive as possible, but we must also accept that there is no “one size fits all” feminism. As a white daughter of parents with a secure higher income tax bracket, am I not allowed to speak up about my concerns? If I’m having a tooth extracted with a sledge hammer, I don’t care much if my next door neighbour is having his leg cut off with a rusty saw. First world problems are still problems.

My point is, I cannot escape the skin I was born in. I write about what I know, because that is what I understand and do best. Just as Caitlin Moran, who by the way was born on a council estate in Wolverhampton and never went to university, should not have to apologise for being successful (but should start thinking about how to deal with criticism), I don’t think I should have to defend myself  for my background, but I should be aware of my privilege, which I am. It is a sobering enough state of affairs as it is.

In the meantime:

sis-ter-hood (n): the feeling of kinship with or closeness to a group of women, or all women, based on shared conditions, experiences, or concerns.

Think about it.

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3 thoughts on “Why Feminism Should Rediscover Sisterhood

  1. Caitlin Moran was born in Brighton, not Wolverhampton; her father was a professional musician and her mother a university graduate who educated Caitlion at home.
    Not exactly the traditional pathway to growing up on a council estate.

    • Whoops, my bad. Born in Brighton, but grew up on a Wolverhampton council estate when her father couldn’t work due to osteoarthritis. Certainly not a traditional council estate biography but not a highly promising outset either.

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