Second Wave Of Feminism - Sisterhood

The discussion of sex and gender often returns to the potential of collective feminist action. Many political groups strive to create a sense of community among its members. 

The second wave was sparked by Beauvoir's demand for female unity in liberation tactics.

Solidarity, on the other hand, may take various shapes

'Sisterhood' is one model. Sisterhood is a concept of female togetherness, or the idea that all women are sisters. 

What, on the other hand, makes women sisters? 

Sisterhood, according to one theory, is based on shared oppressive experiences. Our shared worries, sorrows, and difficulties may be a source of female bonding. 

Take, for example, a typical aircraft trip. 

  • Except for a few niceties spoken here and there, the majority of passengers on any given trip have no special connection or link with the other passengers. 
  • However, if anything occurs during the flight, this changes. 
  • Let's say there's a lot of turbulence, to the point that the trip is unpleasant or scary. 
  • For example, imagine the aircraft bursts a tire on takeoff, making it unclear whether it would be able to land safely. 
  • Could the passengers become more united as a result of these tough, hazardous, or frightening circumstances? 

The more terrible the circumstances in which individuals are forced to suffer or survive, the more likely they are to reach out to one another in some manner or at least feel linked simply because they have shared an experience. 

Sisterhood is a connection that is comparable to these. 

  • Perhaps women have a connection or want to connect with other women because they share the difficulties of being oppressed, being victims of violence, being stereotyped, being excluded, or being oppressed in some other way. 
  • Women who work in a workplace where there are obviously sexist behaviors that impact them may commiserate with one another, and this may grow and spread well beyond the office. 

There are many advantages of basing sisterhood on similar oppression experiences. To begin, naming an issue is beneficial. 

  • Sexual harassment was not recognized as an issue until women began to share their workplace experiences and emotions of annoyance, frustration, and unhappiness. 
  • In reality, sexual harassment was not officially recognized as such until the late 1970s. 
  • Women chatting to other women and sharing their stories were crucial in bringing it to the public's attention. 
  • Domestic violence, date rape, and gender discrimination all rose to prominence as they moved out of the private lives of individual women and were identified as societal issues. 

Another advantage of the sisterhood approach to female relationships is that when women share experiences of abuse or oppression, they may become more feminist-aware. 

  • The feminist movement's consciousness-raising clubs started as small gatherings of women discussing their personal experiences. 
  • They soon grew into more structured support systems for other women. 
  • The organizations also provided information and educational tools, which were especially useful for assisting women who had been victims of sexual harassment or domestic abuse in navigating the social and legal systems to help them rectify their unfair position. 
  • There is also the personal advantage of telling one's tale and understanding that one's experiences of violence or persecution are not unique. 

When women are sisters, they encourage one another and have an underlying understanding. 

  • Sisterhood, in other words, entails moral and epistemic ties between women, regardless of whether or not they know one other. 
  • The concept is that all women are victims of sexist abuse, marginalization, and exclusion, and that this subjugation brings women together. 
  • Sisterhood should imply that sisters help one other when they are in need. 
  • Women, on the other hand, do not always or even often react compassionately to other women. 

Women often blame one other for the violence they experience, such as when a woman says to a friend, 

"Why doesn't she simply leave the violent relationship?" 


"If she hadn't dressed like a slut, she wouldn't have been raped." 

Sisterhood is problematic in a variety of other ways as well. 

Not everyone has experienced persecution in the same way. If feminist organization is based on a connection amongst women that is based on a common experience of oppression, then if there is no shared experience of oppression, no bond will develop, and feminist organizing will be paralyzed. 

Furthermore, a woman's sense of oppression may be influenced by a variety of factors. Take, for example, the issue of sexual harassment. 

  • A white-collar worker who is sexually harassed at work is likely to have access to attorneys, counselors, and psychiatrists who can help her preserve her self-esteem and fight the injustice. 
  • A woman in a low-paying profession that needs minimal training, on the other hand, is likely to be concerned about her job security and may be hesitant to report the harassment. 
  • She would also be unlikely to have the financial means to hire attorneys and psychiatrists. 
  • If she decided to report her harassment, she would have to depend on her employer's goodwill – which is frequently lacking, or impossible if he is the harasser – and, if the matter went to court, she would almost certainly have to rely on legal aid or pro bono help if she could find it. 
  • It's difficult to strategize for feminist action when people's experiences of oppression are so diverse. 
  • It becomes even more complex when we consider how much feminist thought and action comes from bourgeois and upper-class women and men. 
  • Some feminists may be unaware of the complexities of issues that women face regardless of their social status or ethnicity. 

Another significant issue with sisterhood is that it emphasizes victimization. 

  • Clearly, recognizing and identifying an issue that others are experiencing is critical. 
  • The first sensation of increasing awareness is empowering for many women. 
  • However, concentrating on the many ways in which women are abused may be exhausting and debilitating. 

Sisterhood will never be able to change the social and political structures that produce victimization if it focuses only on how women are victims together. 

Women must go beyond victimhood in order to recognize and act on the numerous qualities they possess for the greater benefit of everyone.

 ~ Jai Krishna Ponnappan

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