The Sisterhood v. the Patriarchy

I’m a proud feminist. Growing up, I shied away from that word because I thought to be a feminist I needed to be brave enough to take radical actions, like going on a hunger strike in prison over women’s right to vote (thanks Alice Paul!). My time at Barnard taught me that feminist activism is more broad, spanning everything from calling out microaggressions to encouraging more women to take on leadership positions to teaching your fellow ladies a skill that would make them more competitive in the workplace.

Now, as a woman in the tech industry, I work hard to fight against systemic sexism, and I spend a lot of my free time training women on how to code, always looking for opportunities to lift up and help fellow data/tech ladies.

Ladies helping ladies

Earlier today, I posted an awesome article on Facebook. It’s a super eloquent outline of everything I’ve been feeling this election season. It talks about the feminist quandary that Hillary may not be the perfect candidate, but that a female president could potentially help dismantle the patriarchy.

I’m a Hillary supporter, but have definitely been struggling with the fact that my main reasoning is that she’s a lady. I never thought I’d vote for someone based more on what they represent than their policies. Don’t get me wrong, I desperately want a revolution. My revolution is one that dismantles the systems of oppression that I and countless other women have to fight against every day.

Can I forgive Hillary for being a politician and not a revolutionary to awaken the generations of girls who will think of a woman being president as something that is, instead of something that might be, one day, maybe. Girl power?

I wasn’t surprised when some Bernie supporters commented to outline why they’re not Hillary fans, but I was not prepared for the vitriol that came next.

One Bernie supporter, a former volunteer from the 2008 campaign, dismissed the underlying premise of the article, and launched into an attack on Hillary’s record. I replied:

I think you’re missing the actual thesis of the article: that the patriarchy is a real thing and having a woman president (though Hillary isn’t perfect) could potentially address that. If you disagree with *that* thesis, then I highly recommend reading and learning more about privilege generally.

Instead of having civil discourse about our difference of opinion about the candidates we support, this guy launched into personal attacks of me, saying I’ve never held a real job, I’m hiding out in grad school and afraid of the real world, calling me lazy and spoiled.

I calmly defended myself, and many of my male friends came to my side to support me and call this guy out, but I’m not going to pretend that the experience was fun. But as Eleanor Roosevelt said:

Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway.



Slice of Life is a daily writing challenge during the month of March hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Visit their blog for more information about the challenge and for advice and ideas about how to participate.




2 thoughts on “The Sisterhood v. the Patriarchy

  1. I would say it’s extremely cowardly to deny a stranger’s personal experience from behind a computer screen. What is brave is to open yourself to different viewpoints, accept that you are not an expert on certain things, understand that you can never experience someone else’s life and their struggles.

    The word that keeps returning to me this election cycle is EMPATHY and the shocking lack of it the world seems to have at the moment. Why can’t anyone see that helping someone to win doesn’t mean that they lose. Why can’t we seem to realize that what we demonize are actually people who must live out the consequences of our words and actions.

    Is it the internet/media echo chamber that is causing this disturbing lack of empathy, or is there something scarier and more dark at play? I’m frankly a little afraid to find out, but I will still resolve to bravely face the day with an open mind and empathy for all people, whether I agree with them or not.




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