Stories of Girls’ Resistance

On sisterhood and solidarity:

Sparking and sustaining girls resistance since the world began

On sisterhood and solidarity:

Sparking and sustaining girls resistance since the world began

To speak of the collective story of girls’ and their resistance is to speak also of the allies, accomplices, teachers, mentors and guides who have walked with and lifted up girls.

Indeed, if girls have been resisting since time immemorial, so have sisters and aunties – and sometimes brothers and uncles – been walking with them too.

Solidarity is displayed wherever there is resistance, right where girls are: from the bus fare silently slipped into her pocket so that she can run, to the prized copy of liberatory literature passed from father to daughter, to the invitation into feminist space by movement aunty where her activism begins. Solidarity is a precursor to collective action and people powered movements, but also a site of resistance in and of itself. Indeed, even just to name the role of sisterhood or siblinghood and solidarity is a political act, a counter to the dominant narrative of the single girl leader that so proliferates formalised spaces, and a living example of a different kind of way to be together in the world.

There are a lot of people that I haven’t even met in person. Before we even met in person, but you can feel all the sisterhood. People like you, people like Sarai Chisala-Tempelhoff, Habiba Osman, Nyarai Humba, there are so many people that I consider my sisters in the fight.

Ulemu
Malawi

I don’t call them allies, I call them sister feminists. They are feminists who have started this journey way before me but I had to go to them, I had to find them, I had to humble myself enough to want to learn from them. That has been something very powerful to realise that the work and the journey that I’m on, another woman has lived it, and maybe what I’m living, they have lived it.

Judicaelle
Burundi

And I can definitely point out one ally, which was the facilitator of this youth group. I don’t know if it matters so much but her name is Abida and yeah, she was always very true to this idea that the youth group was for young people and was of young people. She was literally just ensuring that things were good in terms of like, OK, the house was open, the room was clean. Yeah, you have a space to do your thing but she would only like pop up and say hi, just get to know us in the end. Yeah, so I feel like she knew her role very well and she made sure she never used it in a negative – even if unconscious…with Abida it was always different…she is very much aware that she’s not the wisdom wizard. Like she doesn’t know it all. And once you talk to her, she’s not talking in a patronising way that she’s always teaching us or showing us the way. She is open to learn from us in a meaningful way. So I feel like having that person as my ally has really set my expectations high of what to expect from people who are older than me

Khensani
Mozambique

[my grandma] wasn’t like a traditional activist, but I remember her – I’m the youngest of three girls – telling us we were her macha Chicana women. Basically – you can stand up for yourselves; you can do whatever you want. Now that I reflect back and think about it – you know, I’ve had the opportunity to take part in all of these mind-body technologies, thinking more about generative work, somatic work. I think then she was teaching us – which is really important – a way of creating dignity outside of whiteness. So our dignity was related to our place, our identity, ourselves. But it didn’t require imposing that on other people. So it wasn’t like – take up space because your voice is more important than others. It was like – make sure people know your values.

Denicia
United States of America

Solidarity to me is standing together and supporting one another in a particular situation or circumstance. It’s very powerful and amazing to be part of a solidarity group. What binds us together is our values, principles and commitments on a social issue, and of course our rage! I think it also comes with that rage and that anger that there’s injustices in the world and you want to make things right; want people to have access to justice; you want people to have their voices, their struggles heard – you want to do something about it!

Mamta
Fiji

Definitely mother and sister and nanny – she is catholic and conservative, just having conversations with her about her childhood and how she rebelled as a kid, I think she has also had an important influence on me in terms of being feminine. At one point I really hated being a girl – I asked my uncle if he could cut my hair… at nine or ten years old – being feminine was bad. Mother just let me go through it! Being surrounded by her every single day we kind of… we teach each other things… I explained to her about the LGBT community and she was like this isnt right, it’s an illness! We got to a point… ok I accept that. I don’t really agree but I understand. I need to accept her side of things. Also my best friend’s mother, I go to her house every day, and she’s english – the way she brings up her kids, I can talk to her about anything although she’s not my mother. Different perspective – she’s very progressive. She’s also a single mum, she’s so tough but also so loving. She dropped us off at the (inaudible) protest yesterday. She’s so supportive.

Ivy
Sri Lanka

You know that I had a whole path to the brave more or less, in my house I had an older sister and she was very revolutionary from a young age, she started in the militant leftist groups and introduced these movements and ideas in my house because my family was not a militant family in any way. It was her who paved the way, let’s say, since I remember, it was her who began to change certain habits, it was her who protested “because she has to wash the dishes and the cousin of the same age does not do it” she was the one who put up a fight . When I started with this, she had already laid the groundwork for me! No one opposed it, rather I received a lot of support and I think that together we made a very powerful force in my house between the two of us to achieve very significant changes, like it was almost an alliance, without talking to each other about it, but it was like you were in this and I was in this. So together we’re going strong.

Veronica
Ecuador

Well, feminism is big in this household. My mom grew me up around feminism and black lives matter and trans rights and every “woke” candidate, she is focused. And she’s a feminist too. Because she’s been through a lot and she still keeps driving which I find is a good role model and I feel like a feminist that I look up to is probably Stephanie Beatrice. She plays Rolo Diaz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine and she’s bi and she’s also Latina and she’s really open about Dominicans are racist towards Haitians and white privilege in Latino culture is real, is present in Latino culture it’s real, it’s present and she’s really like call you out on your BS. And she’s really open about being bi.

Leilani
United States of America

I mean older women like my aunts and my mother, for me I’m just absolutely impressed. I always think they are the strongest. They survive and they manage to build and create family…It’s like what my mom managed, that all of us went to university. And in really hard, harsh conditions. And some of these women are leaders. One she’s actually a mayor in the camps. She’s a super tough woman…I think from these older women what you learn is you really don’t have to have high degrees to make change. You don’t have to speak a hundred languages to be a strong woman.

Asria
Western Sahara

They took me to Hasharon prison, where they put me with other young girls: Malak was 16 years, arrested at the age of 14 and sentenced for 10 years, Hadya was 15 years and arrested at the age of 13. When I arrived the women soldiers searched me naked, and then I went to the room with the girls. We started talking to each other and they asked me about what was happening outside the prison, about the newest songs, clothes…. Malak liked my jeans and she wanted to have one as they are not allowed to wear jeans in the prison.

Hafsa
Occupied Palestine

Girlhood, it is not just a process that you go through, it’s a community. It’s something that you need to build. I am very blessed to find powerful females to have in my corner, have as support throughout my journey and I feel like that is important. I have to describe this, it’s just a very important family to build. It’s not just an experience. It’s not me alone going through something, it’s me and my sister is going through something together. Getting to do something together.

Krystal
Jamaica