Elevate Difference

Sisterhood Interrupted: From Radical Women to Girls Gone Wild

As if we needed more proof of the very existence of feminism—and how it has been interpreted through the mainstream culture—Deborah Seigel has handed us a history lesson wrapped in a hot pink love letter. In her nonfiction book, Sisterhood Interrupted, Seigel imparts that not only has feminism had its mis-steps, it's fallen clear away from its foundation. But maybe that foundation needs a shake.

Don't misunderstand me: Seigel's words aren't an attack on the "f-word." Rather, she's building that tenuous bridge between the young and seemingly unmotivated, feminists and their burnt-out mothers. As a twenty-six-year-old, self-identified woman in America, I can look around and see where the American feminist movement has failed my generation more than I can see it's successes, at times. And that's where Seigel makes her best historical point. I, with all my privilege, have the power of choice based on the historical outcomes of the movement. And I have feminists—past and present—to thank for that choice.

Sisterhood Interrupted is a quick and exciting read; Seigel exposes knowledge on where (and why) the movement split, between the more highly profiled Betty Freidan and Gloria Steinem, as well as the justification for retiring some words, like, "sisterhood." "But now I realize that sisterhood is phony. Even when there's consensus, there isn't," says Amy Richards, co-author of ManifestA, in a conversation with Seigel. "I think younger women have a better sense that it is a big façade." This 'façade' is not a backlash, or an attempt to dis-empower feminism, it's just a reality of the movement. We're not sisters based on gender alone or simply based on feminist history. I believe opening the discussion to a few things that have been deemed ‘sacred’ isn't such a terrible thing at all.

Written by: Courtney Ham, September 17th 2007

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