By: Rachel Lastinger, Guest BloggerJune 24, 2015
“Truth or Dare?”
“Who do you have a crush on right now?”
This is a statement that anyone would be unsurprised to hear at a sleepover consisting of American girls. That is not where I heard this statement, though. I heard this statement at a sleepover with Ethiopian girls of university age and young American women. It was not the Americans that started the truth or dare round.
It is at this moment, and others like it, that I continuously have the thought “we are not that different.”
On the surface, my life may seem very different from an Ethiopian girls’. I will never understand what it's like to be born into a third world country, to be seen by the rest of the world as "poor and starving," to make decisions not just for myself but for the betterment of my family and community. I will never understand what it’s like to walk 5 plus miles every day to gather water. I will never understand what it’s like to put on my hijab before I walk out the door every day.
I do understand boys and crushes, though. I understand jealousy, comparison, pride, self-image, and confidence issues. The issues I talk through with my Ethiopian girls are not usually about the surface level differences mentioned above. The Ethiopian girls I mentor never mention a struggle that I, as an American, don't understand. I am always able to say “I get it, I've been there.” It may look a little different but that root of insecurity or jealousy, I get it.
I believe and hope that the knowledge of our similarities will bond us girls together as a worldwide sisterhood.
At the root of things, we all have the same struggles. We have daily struggles that are different but that root struggle is felt by all of us, that struggle that we feel deeply down in our heart: that feeling of being unwanted or unloved, that feeling of wishing you looked like that girl in your class, that feeling that the cute boy next door will never notice you. We all feel that.
I believe and hope that the knowledge of our similarities will bond us girls together as a worldwide sisterhood. The knowledge that we are not alone. Girls in your own country, even neighborhood or school, are for sure dealing with the same struggles as you. There are also girls on the other side of the world dealing with the same struggles as you.
We are a sisterhood, all fighting the same fight. Let's fight it together and know that we're ALL in this.
Have you ever felt a shared experience with another girl from a different culture or place? What did you bond on? Tell us below!
Rachel is a graduate of Oklahoma State University where she studied Political Science/International Studies. She now lives in Ethiopia where she works for an organization that investsin Ethiopian university students, mentoring and empowering them. She is a strong advocate forempowering the next generation of women and fighting for their rights, traveling, dance parties,reading, a good cup of tea, and Parks and Recreation.
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