Reader Cassandra sent us a link to this article about “the end of sisterhood” amongst women lawyers. Among other things, it states that
Last year, in an American Bar Association survey, a majority of female lawyers under 40 expressed a preference for male bosses (the 1,400 respondents gave men higher marks for constructive criticism and keeping confidences). Moreover, in a University of Toronto study of U.S. workers released last fall, women who reported to a female boss claimed greater depression, anxiety, headaches, and other ailments than those who worked for a man.
I can’t help but think–and the author seems (I think?) to agree with me–that this sort of phenomenon isn’t so much proof of the ‘end of sisterhood’ as it is proof of the problem with the notion of sisterhood. Full disclosure: the term “sisterhood” makes me want to barf. I don’t need to have a love-in with random strangers in order to fight for what’s right. It’s not about bonding with my fellow women like family; it’s about justice. And this article illustrates the problem with thinking otherwise.
“As postfeminists, we are told that women are nurturers and that we are all in it together,” says California-based consultant Peggy Klaus, who conducts workshops for women in corporations and firms. “Women can accept hierarchy from men, they can tolerate their yelling and bad behavior.” But when women bosses cross the line, Klaus says, women take it very personally.
And of course we do…so long as we’re expecting our boss to act like our sister. It’s out-and-out sexism to expect a lawyer (for god’s sake!) to be a nurturer simply because she is a woman. “Sisterhood” should end. Down with it, I say.