I consider my best friends to be my “sisters.” The lineage begins with Sabrina, the eldest, then Sehee and me in between and finally Michelle, the baby. We act as guardians of each other's futures, sharing wisdom and experiences. We are bonded by more than the fibers of friendship, as if there is a blood line that runs thick through our veins. We come together from all different families and backgrounds and communicate as if we were born the same.
I remember the time just this past November when Michelle, who in my eyes was always so innocent despite being only a year younger than me, came to us with her first boy problem. He had asked her to homecoming, but she was busy and didn’t want to go, so she declined with both gratitude and kindness. In response, his anger boiled over, and caused Michelle’s own frustration to escalate. It was unfair of him even to expect her answer to be yes; to make her feel guilty about it was especially wrong. She was saddened that he could not see the sexism embedded in his reaction. A polite rejection became a call to battle, and she was forced to be apologetic for a decision that was completely her own to make.
My first instinct in this moment was to say, "Hey, you're growing up! We've all been there too!" as if this instance defined her as a woman, just like traditional symbols like periods and hairy armpits. I spoke as if sexism was a strand of DNA, carried down through generations, passed along like our mother's eye color, or grandfather's alcoholism.
When I think of Sabrina’s struggles as the oldest “sister,” I reflect on my own, realizing it will not be long until I encounter difficulties like hers in my own experiences. From the boy who tried to take advantage of her when she was drunk after a party, to the mentor that makes endless unwanted advances, each bout of suffering might one day be a piece of my own framework. This world is a pedigree, with each member inheriting experiences from another – for worse or for better. Though discouraged at times, I continue to fight against the inequalities that define this world, with the hope that, maybe one day, sexism will no longer be passed down through generations; it will instead remain a fragment of the past.