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My Non-Feminist Sister

Posted on the 19 September 2014 by Juliez
My Non-Feminist Sister

I like to think that feminism is becoming a topic of household discussion now. Celebrities are increasingly claiming the feminist label, sexist media depictions are causing more of an uproar and feminism itself seems to be appearing in the news now more than in recent years. This is all very well and good, but it certainly doesn’t change the fact that there are still people who want nothing to do with feminism.

This can be very hard to deal with for people who do identify as feminists, especially if those people happen to be in your family. While it’s (unfortunately) probably not uncommon to have a family member who is against feminism, it’s an especially difficult situation when that person is in your immediate family and somebody you’re otherwise close to.

For example, my older sister opposes feminism. As I have continued to claim a feminist identity, I’ve found it hard to speak or relate to my sister. I often find myself stumbling over how to communicate my ideas to her and how to get her to see that what I am doing and want to do is necessary and important.

At times I want to shake my sister because it’s hard for me understand why she doesn’t recognize the importance of feminism. I don’t understand why she thinks, “it isn’t necessary” especially since, in my opinion, I feel that she could really benefit from it. From an incredibly young age she has been in damaging and abusive relationships that I am sure have left scars. Furthermore, her bi-sexuality and relationships with women have made her a target of homophobia and it pains me to see her accept that constant stream of harassment because she believes it’s “just the way it is.”

I still consider my sister a role model for many reasons. She is successful and has a promising career despite the fact that she did poorly in school and never attended university. She is hardworking, loyal and determined. Despite her claims that she doesn’t understand my feminist identity, I still want her to have all of the opportunities in life that I know she should have, like being able to seek a promotion and have the same chance of getting it as her male counterparts and being able to have a day in the office without workplace harassment.

I will continue to fight for my sister to have these rights and, in fact, that she does not see the reason for feminism is a primary reason that I need to continue on my feminist path. I know that the achievements of feminists will affect her in a positive way regardless of her ignorance towards the movement.  I know that she, and all women, need feminism and that’s enough for me. But I think I’ll always hope that one day she’ll understand what I do and join me in fighting the good fight.

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