Sorority has been excluded from sexist vocabularies

Sorority has been excluded from sexist vocabularies

In part 1, Namrata Rawat and Maryoriet Nicole Rosales Salgado decided to ask people at ZEF during elevator pitches, what sorority meant to them. Thinking of the outcome, Salgado states: “Sorority has been excluded from the sexist vocabularies!”

Within different disciplines and backgrounds, the term sorority is not very well known. Pinned down by feminists and most commonly used in the fields of gender studies, this term – and its powerful meaning – has been excluded from our sexist vocabularies.

Sorority is an experience of women that leads to the search for positive relationships and the existential and political alliance with each other. This aims to contribute with specific actions to the social elimination of all forms of oppression that women have been subjected to throughout history.

(Lagarde, 2010)

After numerous conversations with both, women and men at ZEF, I discovered that the meaning and examples varies amongst different nationalities. Some participants from Europe often knew what it meant, but rarely used the term, as that term was not needed. The term ‘solidarity’ proved to be more effective for them.

Bollywood and Telenovelas proof catty image

Most predominantly, participants from other regions like India and Latin America shared how women in their countries have been often portrayed as envious and spiteful with each other. Bollywood movies, Telenovelas, daily life in offices and school grounds served as proof of this catty image.

This image taught to “be careful” with the other girl because she was probably jealous of us. Surprisingly, we were all saturated with stories of the mean in-laws or girls that slept with someone’s boyfriend because they were evil.  We were also taught to say things like “I hang out with boys in order to avoid drama” as if this was a positive statement that made us cooler somehow. What we didn’t know is that these mere and simple actions were stretching our very patriarchal roots.

I was raised in Honduras and sorority was not a word we learnt and as so the meaning was not replicated either. We were told that “not liking that bi$%h” was all right.

Network of diverse women that supported me no matter what

Finally, as an adult, I bumped into a network of diverse women that supported me no matter what I thought about men, marriage or any other details that had segregated me in the past. It was then, in my late 20s when I was first introduced to the term sorority… And everything clicked.

I have never experienced anything as powerful as when women support each other, especially if we come from countries where we were taught not to. There is a day before and after feminism for me, and it was very well marked by all the women that continue to surround me.

The term prevails through the ZEF halls, as I have experienced support in different ways from different women. From having helpful conversations with experienced female researchers, or women proof reading my papers, to having colleagues sending me funding opportunities. Being supported by women, which is what sorority really means, has endless benefits.

Being nice to each other is what is expected, but for all of us that come from
patriarchal cultures, being there for one another is as close of a political statement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *