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Have her Back!

I recently went through a devastating and earth shattering experience that left me doubting a value I hold dear, sisterhood. As I shifted trough unpleasantly murky waters in that discovery, I finally found some clarity which I want to attempt to share with you. As we navigate through the often hostile environments that clearly articulate how unwelcome we are and consistently label us imposters in this world, there is true power in solidarity and sisterhood. In each experience, be it in the work place or in the home, be it in individual and social relationships, navigating spaces where we automatically ostracized because we are born a certain gender, it has always been other women that have put things in perspective for me, starting from my mother to my sisters in AWiB.  I am a firm believer and benefactor of mentorship and coaching and intergenerational friendships.

There is power in numbers and no matter how different or ‘other’ she may be, she is an allay, she is my sister in solidarity for all the experiences that tie us together because we are women and I truly want her to flourish. As we move through the world in battle armors and masks, fighting to make sense of a world which inadvertently rejects our femininity. Paying us less, questioning our leadership and wisdom all the while taking from us in our time, energy and our power to give life. These are the ties that bind whether you are up or down, corporate lawyer or farmer, married or single. The world sees one thing, you are a woman. Disguise it as you please, say you do not need feminism or labels, at the end, the world sees a woman, a black woman. These are the ties that bind. The only way this could possibly change is by ensuring there are as many of us out there possible rocking the status quo. The only way the public space will be conducive to all out intersecting identities is pulling as many of us into that space. That is an imperative we cannot deny.

So why it is that it is norm to tear each other down rather than build each other up? Why take from rather than nourishing? Why ostracize instead of bringing one more sister to the fold? It really does not make any sense if you think about it. There is no zero sum game in sisterhood. It is win-win. Each pain, torment or plummeting self-esteem we are responsible for in another woman, we are losing one more path cleared, one more glass shattered or one more seat not occupied by a woman. Why turn a win win scenario by ensuring it turns into a zero sum game? Who are we playing for? Who is even judging who wins? Help her up dear sister, do not be her obstacle. Lift her up dear sister, resist the urge to pull her down. Don’t steal her power when you can empower her.

Introducing the Bechdel Test

If you are a movie buff like me, the Bechdel Test is an important, albeit incomplete, tool to use in judging the unpalatable status quo in cinema as in life. It is a simple tool to that you can use to measure if a movie is gender sensitive or not based on the following criteria. Number one is whether or not it has at least two women in it, the second is that these women talk to each other and finally the scenario is that the conversation has to be about something besides a man. For your weekend binge watching pleasure, you can find the list of movies that pass the Bechdel Test here. However, your weekend movie list is not why I brought it up.  While the test is not an adequate measure of how good or ‘feminist’ a film is, it does highlight just how male-dominated cinema really is and I simply wondered if it can do the same in life. Try it. Let me know what you find out on sewitpersonal@gmail.com