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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Feminism & Sisterhood By Marianne Bevan New Zealand

What Does Feminism and Sisterhood mean to you?

To me, feminism is about asking questions; it's about seeking to understand how different people, relationships, institutions, ways of thinking and doing, are privileged over others because of their links with masculinity, and what this means for society. Feminism and sisterhood is a way of working together to make space for voices and ways of thinking that have been marginalized and devalued because they're seen as 'feminine', to be heard and lead in creating more just, inclusive, peaceful and creative communities.

In what ways can women work together to bring change in their various communities?

I've seen many women (and men) who genuinely want gender equality, but who go about trying to get it by critiquing what they see as deficiencies in other women ("they're not assertive enough, they're not motivated enough..."). But to create change, we always need to look deeper and see these things as products of the sexism, racism, homophobia etc that exists in all of our communities, and work from there. We can work together by recognizing difference, being empathetic, by arguing and challenging each other respectfully, by forgiving each other, by mentoring each other, and by recognizing that we're all imperfect but can be courageous in our own ways. 

How has Feminism and Sisterhood Impacted your Life?

 I was always shy and unsure of my opinions, often scared to speak up for fear of being wrong. Overtime, feminism has allowed me to see this less as a personal deficiency and more (or at least in part) as a symptom of the way I was socialized and brought up as a girl. This knowledge, along with the support and encouragement of female mentors and friends, has helped me to trust in my thoughts and opinions, and find ways to speak up in my own voice. 

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