The timely performance of “America the Beautiful” by the Schuyler Sisters at the Super Bowl, roles reprised by Renée Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, and Jasmine Cephas-Jones from Broadway’s hit musical “Hamilton,” established sisterhood as a precedent for self-determination. Singing “And crown thy good with brotherhood and sisterhood from sea to shining sea,” the women of “Hamilton” memorably constructed inclusivity into a song about male primacy and manifest destiny. Not only does this reflect the formative power of women’s narratives in the origins of American history, it reaffirms the importance of cultivating sisterhood during the jingoistic presidency of a man who has openly flouted America’s core egalitarian values. Sisterhood is spunk, spirit, and substance, and we need it today more than ever.
The rite of sisterhood transcends blood, time, and circumstance. Sisterhood is what interlopers would call a magical conclave, wherein the meaning of the question “Can you check me?” is universally and sympathetically understood (much to the chagrin of the aforementioned interloper, who would be naturally perplexed by the butt-ogling). Sisterhood means finding friends in unlikely places and intuitively knowing we are united in our collective experiences. Our sisters have our backs, and this form of friendship and solidarity is a testament to the bond between all women, for sisterhood has always been intersectional and independent of race, class, creed, or sexuality. Sisterhood is activism and love, and above all, it is for everyone. It is the boundless strength of sisterhood that makes it so empowering and allows us to be mighty in all our unique ways.
One need look no further than the English lexicon to appreciate the re-memory of sisterhood: Mother Earth, mother country, mother tongue – women are truly metamorphic, and when we stand together, we are stronger. From our pioneers at Seneca Falls and our sisters marching on Washington, D.C., sisterhood has not been stymied by matters of melanin, but by the matter of mettle.
Of course, sisterhood is not inviolate, and it would be remiss of me to pretend that it is. Popular culture normalizes pettiness and rivalry among females. Mainstream social media perpetuates hypercritical sl**-shaming and body-shaming, which creates a climate of competitiveness rather than community. Rather than being covetous and petty, we must support each other and thrive together. We need to remember to lift other women as we climb, because empowered women empower women just as love begets love.
However, cultivating sisterhood requires more than lip service. We must practice activism and understanding to bring sisterhood to fruition in our daily lives. Each of us has a voice, and it is our prerogative to use our voice to influence change. As for myself, I will speak up, and I will speak out and never again mince my words. I will fight for my sisters as fiercely as I fight for myself, because in a world without sisterhood, nobody wins.
Sisterhood can weather wars and walls. The infractions of our Gaslighter-in-Chief cannot put our dreams in boxes or build walls around our futures. The future is in our hands, so be empowered and be hopeful. We are all sisters alike.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.