Is There Still a Sisterhood?

Wed, June 20, 2007


As a 100% feminist ;) — I was really excited to read Sisterhood Interrupted.

For anyone who has wondered what happened to the feminist movement, this book is a great history that tracks how change was ignited by an
intrepid “girl” reporter in the 1960s who went undercover as a waitress at the infamous Playboy Club in New York City through to today’s generation of women who aren’t sure whether to embrace the ‘”f” word or not, or what it really means.

Divided into two sections, “Mothers” and “Daughters,” Siegel traces, among other things, the efforts of Betty Friedan to make feminism a cause that wives and mothers in the heartland could relate to and examines Friedan’s own frustrations at the time she was president of NOW about why more women weren’t embracing efforts to open doors for increased opportunities.

As one of the many beneficiaries of all the groundwork my “sisters” did to enable my own opportunities, I was fascinated to read about their questions about how best to pursue their quest for equal rights.

Ask my parents, and they’ll tell you that there was never any question that I would be a full-fledged feminist with a capital “F” — a girl from a small rural town who wanted to major in political science, vote as soon as I turned 18, and who was determined to take on whatever challenges came my way. I thank all the Glorias and Bettys who went before me for making that possible.

And I’m happy to say the little apple didn’t fall far from the PunditTree.

I was wearing
this shirt the other day, and PunditGirl asked me to explain why there was a picture of a globe with the caption, “Women. We’ll Settle for Half.”

“Why don’t we already have half?” she asked, with a look on her face that signaled she could not even comprehend a world where girls weren’t equal to boys.

I hope for PunditGirl’s sake the Sisterhood continues to grow and thrive. But it’s clear from the history that Siegel has traced in her book, there’s still some serious work to be done.

As Siegel sums it up, we need to put an end to feminist infighting — about who’s doing things the right way or the wrong way — and call a truce if we’re to continue making any progress at all:

“Younger women need older feminists to understand that for a women’s movement to continue to move forward, it will require updating and reinvention. At the same time, younger women need to stop blaming older ones and ditch old sterotypes about the second wave that preclude them from rallying around common themes.”

And to that I say, Amen.


I did receive a free copy of the book from the author (who is a friend of a friend) for review purposes, so here’s a chance for all the “Mothers” and “Daughters” to win a copy of Sisterhood Interrupted.

Leave me a comment telling me about one of your first feminist moments (come on, guys, I know you have them, too!), and I’ll choose one at random to receive the book!

Looking forward to hearing some great stories!

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12 Responses to “Is There Still a Sisterhood?”

  1. CPA Mom Says:

    I don’t know about one of my first feminist moments (except how freeing it felt to toss my cheating husband out on his ass since I knew I could stand on my own two feet!) but lately, with my older clients, I’ve felt the reverse – every time they call me “baby” or “honey” or “precious.”

  2. impromptublogger Says:

    I don’t know about mine either, but I do remember being bothered as a kid in the 60′s and 70′s at cartoons and shows where there was a helpless female who had to be rescued by the big strong handsome man. It got on my nerves after a while. I’m sure glad kid’s TV isn’t like that anymore for the most part.

  3. Florinda Says:

    I took that quiz, too…I think I scored as 83% feminist. There were a couple of things I didn’t check as “strongly agree,” so that probably lowered my score :-).

    I’m not sure what my first feminist moment was, but I think I’ve been having them all my life – growing up in the 70′s really influenced my consciousness. I remember back in high school, when the Equal Rights Amendment was still kicking around, not understanding why anyone WOULDN’T support it. (All that stuff about not having separate restrooms for men and women anymore was a diversionary tactic.) I think that being “pro-choice” really means being “pro-CHOICE” – in other words, supporting the full range of options. I don’t understand how “feminist” became a bad word, any more than I understand how “liberal” did.

    This book sounds fascinating. There’s been backlash and a lot of turns in the road for feminism in our lifetime, things are taken for granted that really shouldn’t be, and there’s still so much more to accomplish.

  4. PT-LawMom Says:

    I grew up in New Zealand (the first country to give women the right to vote) and when I was living there in the 80′s, the government ran an ad campaign called “Girls Can Do Anything.” So in that sense, I’ve always been a feminist — or at least I’ve always thought women can do anything a man can do. My Dad wrote a newspaper editorial in his teens about why women should be allowed to form and participate in sponsored sports teams just like the men. It wasn’t until I moved to the U.S. and started in the working world that I realized life’s not quite that equitable. Especially since becoming a mother and reading more and more about workplace inequality. As for my own experience, I was recently drafting an e-mail to a client and left off “Dear” (i.e., I started “Mr. Client, [paragraph] Per your request,…). My boss, a partner in his late 50′s, came out to read over my shoulder and said, “Young lady, you need to know your place!” This is the same man who brought a gift back from a business trip, gave it to me and said, “I always bring something back for **the desk**.” If I wasn’t a feminist before, I am now. :(

  5. Steve Says:

    Not about the article per se, but noticed that your html template for your blog seems to go bonkers if using Firefox. May want to look into it.

  6. Kelly Says:

    I was raised by two radically feminist people (one being–yes–my father) and have always seemed to be surrounded by people who are like-minded. Recently, however, and old friend shocked me when she said that she thought a woman’s value to a man ends when the woman turned 40. Whadiddy wha wha wha? I was completely shocked to hear that come out of her mouth. I’m still working on her. I just hope that that insipid little show she’s watching right now where the 30-year-old man picks between a bunch of 40-year-old women vs. 20-year-old women comes out on my side.

  7. Mrs. Chicky Says:

    Feminism wasn’t exactly encouraged in my family growing up so I’d have to say my first feminist moment that I can remember wasn’t exactly mine. It was my mother’s.

    When my father, who always expected my mother to clean up after him and cook all his meals, asked where his favorite pants were and why they weren’t washed. Yet. My mother said, and I’ll never forget this,

    “Wash them yourself. I’m not your g*ddamn maid, I’m your wife.”

    That set me up for the rest of my life.

  8. Lawyer Mama Says:

    I’ll definitely check out the book!

    It’s hard for me to pin down my first feminist moment as well. My mom was and still is an ardent feminist. So I grew up with a lot of it and I just assumed that my parents’ view of the world was the view shared by everyone. But I will think about it….

  9. Gunfighter Says:

    I came up as 100 percent feminist… and I am the guy that routinely calls women sweetie, sweetheart, and dear on a regular basis.

    Go figure.

  10. Paige Says:

    Well, I distinctly remember my grandfather giving me hell one night about a decade ago because there I was 24, unmarried and, as a result, not even close to getting my mom on. He asked me what was wrong with me, because my grandmother was married and a parent to two boys by then. And I said I didnt think anything was wrong with me, I was just choosing to explore the world and find myself and be cool with who I was before I worried about getting married, putting down roots and all that. It baffled him.

  11. FENICLE Says:

    I believe there are now a lot of “clics” in the Feminist group. Seems like you have to pick a side on every single topic! And then that divides you.

    I don’t know when my “moment” was?? When I was working at small town family owned pharmacy my senior year in high school, the owner & pharmacist made a statement to me one day that caused me to walk off and quit – right then & there.

    He said: “Have you ever thought about working at Hooters with that rack?”

    I was only in high school, but I told him what I thought & left.

  12. PunditMom Says:

    And the book goes to (chosen at random) … Mrs. Chicky!

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