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False Sisterhood

“She’s weird, so it’s ok.” Was the response I got when I tried to defend the intern from the sisterhood of the stagnant work stations. From having worked in two mostly female offices now, and written for one all-female website full time, I came to the conclusion that most women do not know what sisterhood is.  To start, I will tell you what it is not.

1. Sisterhood is not coming together for the petty cause.
It is not the backstabbing and shit talking about other women. The fact that Amber wore red lipstick or Krista said something strange should have no effect on the way you feel about yourself or their character.  Also, just because it’s not being said to their face doesn’t mean it’s not breaking down someone’s character. Smearing campaigns often happen when the third party is not around.

How to recognize when a smear campaign is happening:
When someone asks you trivial questions about another female while submitting their negative views of the person such as, “so and so is so strange, right?”  They are starting a smear campaign. When this happens, it is not only your response that matters, but remember to not let that comment disguised as a question affect your perception of said person in question. Your reaction also matters, because even a dismissive “yes” will not only make you an accomplice, but now the leader of the slow moving, unsettling rumor mill.

2. Sisterhood is not finding artificial things that we like and molding together to fend against anyone who values a different opinion.
The fact that Amber wore red lipstick is not a good enough reason to dislike her. However, the fact that Laura is coming up to you in a nice tone and a scrunched up face asking you how you feel about Amber’s lipstick is reason to stay away from Laura.

3. Sisterhood is not blaming one person’s drama on all women.
When girls say they aren’t friends with girls, because they don’t like drama, this is why they say this: It comes from a place of hurt. But rather than try to understand their reasoning, we attack them. We tell them they are self-hating woman. They do not hate women, they just dislike the girl world that we live in. I make it a point to reach out to women who say this, form our own bonds, and learn to heal together. We create a space where we can be ourselves away from the negative girl spaces we have little control over. We must learn to forge bonds with each other without the need to ostracize other females.

4. A group of mean girls is not sisterhood.
it’s sad that it has to be said in today’s public feminist world, but it has to be said. 

5. Sisterhood is not excluding men from the conversation.
There are many theories as to why the girl world is the way that it is and the most common one is that men have pitted us against each other. I see how this is true in the grand scheme of things. But the places that have little-to-no men are the places where mean girls thrive the most in. For example, catholic schools and all-female corporate offices.  So we need to ask ourselves why that is? What is it about the way we were brought up in this world that makes us so catty? I don’t have the answers, but this is just one of the questions that we need to start asking ourselves.

There is hope for the future.
I see that the environment is changing with the new generation. We are becoming more loving. Both in public and private to each other. This starts with getting out of the golden cages we have been put in.

Women are no longer afraid to be artistic. To get messy. To be comfortable. To stop shaving. The beginning of the end to this catty behavior is us truly acting as equals. And the first way to do that is by breaking the chains we have mentally kept within ourselves. When we point out how messy another woman is perhaps we are deflecting. Because deep down inside we wish we could be that way in public too. Because we are all humans and humans can be messy. Humans say strange things at times, humans try out different ways of being and looking even if it doesn’t work for them. Humans grow….constantly.

The norms that have been put on women by men are now being enforced by other women.  Newsflash! Most men don’t care if your nails look messy from time to time or if you haven’t done your eyebrows. The fact is that some of us do this in order to not be left out by other women. And it is hard not to care when we are left out, because deep down we all want to be part of the sisterhood. But please know that what I just explained is no sisterhood.

What I explained above, is a pit where growth is stunted and the golden cage is enforced. Where you have to look into the sea of catty-ness and try to find others like you. The rebels, the true feminists. The humanitarians, the artists, the weirdos, and the tomboys.

The more women allow each other to be tomboys, the more we will just be and tomboy will no longer be a word we use to describe being comfortable and fun and as implied, like a boy. This way of being belongs to girls too.

In traditional environments, it is very much like The Handmaids Tale out here in the girl world. You never know who will be your friend and who will rat you out and have you fed to the dogs. So exclude yourself from the false sisterhood before you are offered a red cloak with a hat to match.

comments 15

The Power of Resting Bitch Face

The walk from my apartment in Washington Heights to my junior high school was no longer than 15 minutes. Yet, every morning I would have to go to the building across from me and wait for this tardy girl so that I could walk to school with her. I don’t remember having any conversations with her, because we were completely different people. I hung out with the skaters and she hung out with the hood rats. All I remember is that her apartment smelled of vapor rub, old magazines and slow death.

Fun fact: From the age of 25 the number of newly formed cells in your body is less than the number of cells that die and every year the dissimilarity grows (much like the economic disparity in America). No need to fret, just start a revolution and moisturize… #themoreyouknow

Anyhow, I kept telling my parents how insufferable this morning routine was. The girl was a morning person with conversation topics I had no interest in. I wasn’t a morning person and preferred nonverbal communication. Also, being a valedictorian with perfect attendance, I hated arriving to class late, especially when it wasn’t my fault. So after almost a year of having to walk with her to school I was able to walk alone. Just me and my music.

The walks to and from school became the best part of the day for me. I’d walk alone to school every morning and with a huge group of friends on the way back. A group so large that we had to stop for headcounts every other block. My home life sucked, but the outside world was beautiful.

Yet, it seemed like every week or so in the morning, some asshole walking the opposite direction would tell me to smile. The first time this happened to me, I smiled. I thought the guy was just being nice and I was young so seniority ruled. However, the more this happened, the more I thought about it. I went from thinking that they were being considerate to thinking that they were a bit rude but had good intentions, to being just plain irritated at this. Who the fuck are these men to tell me to smile?

I began to notice that no one ever told my male friends or brothers to smile. Why aren’t men or boys told to smile? Most men look like they are ready to punch a wall or already have punched a wall. Hide yo kids, hide yo walls. But it gets brushed off as men putting on a tough appearance so as to not become prey. I was told that it was just “natural.” When you grow up in an environment where almost every one of your male friends has gotten jumped, you just let them own their experiences and leave it at that. So again, I began to brush off the joker-esque comment.

Until another man told me to smile. This time I snapped. If men get to own their experiences for appearing tough then why can’t I, as a woman, own mine? As someone who consistently fears getting violated by the other sex, ironically the sex that is constantly telling me to smile, I have a right to not look friendly.

Machismo doesn’t benefit anyone. It doesn’t allow men to experiment and hinders women from feeling safe. But here’s the thing; machismo is an invisible shackle, much like the invisible cage of beauty standards women have to live with. Women have to be nice, pretty and enthusiastic at all times or we’re considered bitches. It is ironic to me that women are called female dogs when we refuse to act like house pets.

In my years of being on this earth I have learned that the nicest people not only can be the most wicked, but often are. Yes, Taylor Swift, I am looking at you. Being nice and being kind are two different things. All kind people are nice, but not all nice people are kind. Nice is easy, kind requires some elbow grease, whether through working on yourself or helping others. But this article is not about the myth of nice. This article is about resting bitch face and the men who want to change it with their intrusive comments. Owning RBF is revolutionary, because only women are told to smile. So if I look disinterested or ‘not nice,’ I have the right to look that way and sometimes, I just fucking am.

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Language Barrier

I have fared the best out of the group
Although I went through the most
I got away with the least amount of scars
I remind myself of this every time I find it hard to connect
When I wonder why the majority of people I will know for years
I always feel new around
Not because I don’t care enough to ask
It seems I just don’t ask the right questions
In our culture it takes so long to get to the nitty gritty
And since that is most of what I know
There is not much else in me to ask

Some people get scared
some feel personally attacked
I feel personally attacked by those that feel that way
To them I am darkening the world they’ve worked so hard to keep protected
From the nitty gritty
But no matter how hard I’ve tried not to be, I always end up being me
The nitty gritty

I can fake myself to be less of what I am
but their fear of the things that make me who I am
Is personally offensive
So to protect their world and my being
I stay away

The majority of people I will know for years
Yet always feel new around
And not in the good and exciting way
In the unfamiliar
Out of the loop
Out of place
Sort of way

I realize that I am not misunderstood
As much as I misunderstand others
But in an artist space
there I can connect
Only in the real ones of course
Not the ones that urge you to be different for the sake of being different not because you Just are

I am at my most comfortable around people who have trouble connecting
with those I connect with the most
We speak the same language

The common every day for me is a language barrier
A language I’ve tried to learn for what seems like my entire life
But the culture is what blocks me
The small talk and facades
How people limit themselves
How they refuse to ask the right questions
The real ones
The scary ones
The ones that cater most to helping and understanding the other
Rather than shielding the self from feeling
Feelings that could be controlled
Not all feelings should be accepted at face value

I’ve come to accept that my native tongue has been molded
Carved out and laid out to dry
That I do not wish to be part of the ordinary anymore
I can fake it, but to make it
In that world
would be losing in mine
Why learn the language when I’m not planning on living the culture?




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It Didn’t Just Happen Overnight

It didn’t just happen overnight

It wasn’t all of a sudden that the word zernone lost its taste
Or that the sound of a deep E on the bass stopped looking like a purple sunset
Or that the number 33 lost its roundness in touch
Now the word zernone, the sound of a deep E and the number 33 are just that
On the occasions that I feel numbers and sounds give out a hue there is no one to tell
Adults cannot be bothered with imagination or synesthesia

We envy it in others who are in resemblance in age and shun their thoughts away
And when it is not envy, we congratulate their difference
Then follow through with imitation
And through this imitation we take away the purity of their perception of the world
We have allowed the world to take away our personal wonder by taking it for granted Then follow through by taking it away from others

Sitting is the new smoking
We sit all day then cannot be bothered to move
Our bodies don’t know what moving is after a while
Our brains can only be used to perceive after a while
Our hearts can only be reasonable after a while

Some of us take drugs, move to Brooklyn
And feel superior for attempting to hold on to our childhood
When trying to hold on is a surefire way to lose it
We must be able to walk away from it and walk back whenever we please
Learn where it is like we learned how to walk back home from school
For the very first time

Children don’t need to work so hard to remain
They just are
They just see, smell and feel things as the world is given to them
And they notice just to learn
They don’t notice to get ahead
And they don’t make friends in order to market themselves
They don’t question whether the purple hue is the best color for the deep E
It just is

It didn’t happen overnight
We slowly stopped paying attention to ourselves
We started drinking even though most of us didn’t like the taste
Because drinking “loosened,” us up
When the truth is that most of us drink to be ourselves
If more of us had the guts to be truthful I’m sure others would feel free to do it too
Truthful people are the everyday heroes of the world

It didn’t just happen overnight
We slowly kept walking with the times
Some of us never bothered to put breadcrumbs down by our path
Because our horrid past told us there was nothing there for us to go back to

Sitting is the new smoking
So on many occasions I get up and stumble back without the breadcrumbs to guide me
And when frustrated and lost, I remind myself that a child just is
They just are
Who cares how I get there?
But with this new knowledge of the world
I’ve been going back

It doesn’t just happen overnight



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