Sorority – Concept, origin, etymology and feminism

We explain what sisterhood is, the origin and etymology of the term. Also, what is your relationship with current feminism.

Sisterhood is a bond of female brotherhood that overcomes differences.

What is sisterhood?

With the word sisterhood, a bond of fraternity and solidarity among women, especially in the face of discrimination and violence from a patriarchal culture, that is, machismo. It is a neologism rescued at the beginning of the 21st century by the feminist movements on the rise, which is why it was accepted in 2018 by the Royal Spanish Academy.

The meaning of the term goes back to the Latin terms frater (“Brother”) -where “brotherhood” and “brotherhood” come from -, and soror (“Sister”), and would propose a relationship of alliance, that is, of mutual respect, care and solidarity, but instead of between brothers, between sisters. In fact, it is related to the treatment given to the nuns: “sor”, which means “sister”.

The first known use of the term sisterhood dates from 1921, when the Spanish writer and philosopher of the Generation of 98, Miguel de Unamuno (1864-1936), published his novel Aunt Tula, in which he referred to the Greek tragedy of Antigone, and said:

“Fraternal? No: we would have to invent another word that does not exist in Spanish. Fraternal and fraternity come from frater, brother, and Antigone was soror, sister. And perhaps it would be convenient to speak of sisterhood and of sororal, of feminine brotherhood. “

But later, during the so-called “Second wave of feminism” (1960-1980), the term acquired its political and militant charge, proposed in English as “sisterhood“Or”sorority”. Already at that time it was proposed as a bond of female brotherhood that would overcome the differences of class, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and nationality, putting gender before any other existential condition.

One of the greatest contemporary promoters of the term is the Mexican feminist activist and researcher Marcela Lagarde (1948-), who defines it as a “political pact between women”, who “meet and recognize in feminism, to live life with a profoundly libertarian sense ”.

Sisterhood, in this sense, obeys the same principle as the Marxist call for the union of the proletariat, that is, the idea that only united the oppressed and discriminated against can exercise a political action powerful enough to change the social structure. Thus, without a brotherly bond – rather, sororal– Among women, the fight for equality between the sexes would always be weakened and fragmented.