The right kind of sisterhood is medicine. The wrong kind of sisterhood is poison. – Angela E. Morris
To build a community that is based upon authenticity and sisterhood seems sweet and lovely, right? Yes, until you realize that means calling out friends and peers on their wrong-doings. Or having to discern between a friend going through a bad time, or a peer that is just bad energy (and then letting them go if it’s the latter). Or, maybe, calling out that seemingly innocent chick rocking a feather headdress during festival season. Big no-no.
I originally started following Angela, @FeminineShift on Instagram, because of her poetic quotes, and before long realized she was much more multi-dimensional than that. Now, I see her foremost as a trailblazer for creating a community that is based upon celebrating ALL women’s rights, shining a light on racial injustice, and plainly: calling out people on their shit.
At first, I was shocked at the perceived harshness of her word. The way she would call out my beloved @YogaGirl on cultural appropriation, or call out white women on their racial disparities when she herself, is a white woman? Totally out of my comfort-zone. But then, I realized that this is because she is an ally. The kind of ally that you want on your side, and the kind that was sent here to shake things up and shift our perspectives. Being an ally isn’t always sweet and lovely.
I recently had the opportunity to pick the brain of Angie, to learn the origins of The Feminine Shift, the true meaning of feminism, and how we can all be better allies for our sisters around the world. I have learned so much from her, and truly believe she is part of the conscious-force that makes social media more than memes and selfies.
What inspired you to start The Feminine Shift community? How did you propel it’s growth?
The Feminine Shift was birthed out of a place of deep pain, but also personal power. This combination helped me continue to create a place for my writing to stand on its own. Previous to starting the Feminine Shift, I had been writing solidity for over two years with a friend. Together we created a social platform where we co-wrote but also featured our individual writing. It was a wonderful way to start writing consistently and great for accountability. Without getting too much into that, it went to shit. It sucked pretty badly, and I chose to walk away from what we built together. I could not spout of things like sisterhood, when there were fucked up things happening in my own relationships. Integrity is really important to me. I had to clean some shit up, so to speak.
I discovered I had a lot to say based on my experience as a woman, the personal trauma I had endured, and my day-to-day learned lessons. It became an outlet. And to be very honest, when I first started writing, it was from a very reactionary place. Now, I try my darndest to process things a little more slowly and create an all encompassing message. Sometimes I get personal, depending on the kind of writing it is. I can still get a bit ranty, but no one is perfect, right!?…. right?!
Writing has become a way for me to heal and to channel things I was going through, knowing other women were most likely having similar experiences. They are also trying to find their way home to themselves. I wanted to create a place online where women felt safe and read words that made them feel less alone. I believe things grow when there is a need. In this case, there is need for women to come exactly how they are and read things that relate to their life. Maybe sometimes a little too much, as people love to tell me how they interpret my work and give me unsolicited advice. Hehe.
Since following you, I’ve noticed you are very intuitive in knowing when you need a social media break. What usually causes you to make the decision?
Social media is designed to make us want to be on it 24/7 and hate ourselves a little. So yes, breaks are needed! I think it is so important when you are processing something big to take a step back and really breathe into what messages are trying to come through. Social media = mudding the waters. Being a person who talks about inflammatory things, such as white privilege, white fragility, white woman sisterhood, and sexism among other things, I do need my time and space to step away and ground myself. Bringers of hard truth need that. We all do.
While your audience sees the silence, what is actually happening in your life during that break?
Oh, plenty of things are happening. A LOT of reading and educating myself. Being present in my day-to-day shenanigans. Dance parties, as my partner just stares at me, or maybe I am on the couch eating cookies, oh and Netflix! You weren’t thinking I was doing something profound, did you? I massage during the day, write in between, go for long walks, and take way too many showers in one day because water grounds me. I am really not that cool.
What is one misconception about feminism that you need to clear the air on?
This one question could be turned into a whole book. What a shitstorm feminism is. I need to do better at feminism. White women need to do better at feminism. Although maybe not intentional, ahem, white privilege, we have dropped the ball big time. First, we need to recognize white women were flat out racist during the suffrage and continue to be with our pussy hats, passive aggressive nice white girl archetype, spreading “good vibes only”. We tend to be blatantly exclusive, then claim naivety when called out.
We fail to consider other women’s perspectives who are not straight, cisgender, white. We often alienate women of color, non-straight women, trans women, and women belonging to religious or cultural minorities we don’t fully understand. We try to speak for them or even against them, instead of standing with them. We, white women are taught tactics to keep women of color in their place, and I fully understand why these women choose not to identify as a feminist. There is no seat at the table for them, so they went and built their own fucking table, going by the term womanist. and some white women are even mad about that.
Inclusive feminism is the only way things can truly heal. Women of color need to take the driver’s seat, and we, white women need to sit in the back and learn to not talk for everyone. This is especially true because we don’t know the struggles and needs of ALL women. White feminism is reckless, violent, dangerous, unproductive and leaves behind women of color, trans women, and non-binary women. I am not for it.
Be inclusive or get the fuck off my lawn.
How can white women more strongly show their solidarity with underrepresented women?
Pay for anti-racism education done by women of color:
- CATRICE M JACKSON
- ANDREA RANAE’S COACHING AS ACTIVISM ONLINE COURSE
- DESIREE ADAWAY’S DIVERSITY IS AN ASSET COURSE
- SHARYN HOLMES ANTI-RACISM CONSULTING
- Layla F Sadd, ME AND WHITE SUPREMACY WRITING COURSE
Give up some of your privileges.
Use privileges to amplify women of colors voices.
Understand your white privilege.
Read and listen to women of color, without letting your own feelings get in the way and stop taking things personally.
Don’t demand women of color to teach you about your own ignorance and white fragility.
Stop taking what black, indigenous, people of color say about general white people so personal and get to work on anti-racism education. WE ALL NEED IT.
What is your most cherished self-care ritual?
SETTING BOUNDARIES! This gives me life and perseverance. Blocking people off of social media who deeply suck or silently lurk. Saying no. Picking and choosing where to put my energy and where to not.
What advice do you have for women looking to connect with other like-minded women?
DISCERN. DISCERN. DISCERN. Take your time getting to know other women. There is a dark side of sisterhood and we can’t pretend it’s not there anymore. We are divided women.
When have you been most satisfied in your life?
When I am on a new adventure.
When I have written something that doesn’t totally suck.
When I have helped someone see themselves a little more clearly.
When I see myself a little more clearly.
When I have really good sex.
When I help shift people into seeing things a little more different.
When I start to see things differently.
When I stand up for what is right, no matter what the outcome may be.
Stay connected with Angie: @FeminineShift