Where's The Sisterhood? | SIKH PHILOSOPHY NETWORK
  • Welcome to all New Sikh Philosophy Network Forums!
    Explore Sikh Sikhi Sikhism...
    Sign up Log in

Where's The Sisterhood?

Ishna

Enthusiast
Writer
SPNer
May 9, 2006
3,249
5,184
Sat Sri Akal Ji

It appears to me that a point of difference between the online Sikh community and the Christian and Muslim ones is a strong and visible "sisterhood" within them which seems to be absent from Sikh ones. Go to any Christian or Muslim forum and you'll see the women addressing each other as 'sister' quite often. I don't see that so much in Sikh forums.

So recently I went searching for a Sikh women's forum, somewhere I might "feel the sisterly love". And I couldn't find any. I found a Muslim one in no time, but not a place where Sikh women get together, pat each other on the back and talk about the Singhni's POV and experiences.

Perhaps I'm just revealing my egotistical need for warm-fuzzies from my sister Kaurs. Perhaps I'm not doing the right Google searches!

But is there a reason why Kaurs don't seem to be as... I don't know... "mushy" as the women in other religions? Maybe that's why we're Sikhs!

But sometimes it's hard to feel the communal warmth. Maybe it's just my POV.

What are your thoughts?
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,209
Ishna, bibi ji

Part of that may be the slice of the Internet you visit. Bhenji, phenji, bibi, and more....it is used always on facebook. We don't use it here at SPN but it would be great if we did.

Another bit of thinking on my part. lol I think I can think. ..... Sikh women tend to read more than write comments on most forums. That is actually true of our audience statistics when we check. If kaurs are not writing as often, then "sister" would not be found as often either. Not saying this very clearly because I should be in bed. So, why do the bibis not write as often as the men? I think there are 2 reasons:

Sikh women go to work, have jobs, come home tired, have to tend to families. And this is true even if their mother/mother-in-law is also at home. My sense is very few Sikh women are "stay at home wives and mothers." Not to the same extent as women in other faiths. So, there is not as much disposable time, or energy, left for the Internet.

Sikh women do not like the mean-spirited aspects of forum discussion. It is a waste of their time to discuss the same subjects over and over and get involved in spiteful exchanges. On social networks a kaur can control who posts on her wall, and what can be said. Again, many kaurs post on facebook and enjoy that connection (photos, videos, kirtaan, small talk, participating in fan pages and special interest groups)...they do this in droves.

All depends on how busy a bibi is and how much nastiness she is willing to stand.
 

kds1980

SPNer
Apr 4, 2005
4,502
2,743
40
INDIA
Sat Sri Akal Ji

It appears to me that a point of difference between the online Sikh community and the Christian and Muslim ones is a strong and visible "sisterhood" within them which seeks to be absent from Sikh ones. Go to any Christian or Muslim forum and you'll see the women addressing each other as 'sister' quite often. I don't see that so much in Sikh forums.
Ishna ji I am sorry but you comparing Sikhism with giants of world.Both Christianity and Islam are Giants with 1.5 to 2 billion people we are barely 25 million .It is obvious you will found many forums ,message boards where you can like to discuss the topics you like.
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,209
Ishna ji I am sorry but you comparing Sikhism with giants of world.Both Christianity and Islam are Giants with 1.5 to 2 billion people we are barely 25 million .It is obvious you will found many forums ,message boards where you can like to discuss the topics you like.
What difference does that make? The topic is: Why don't Sikh women use "sister," as often as women in other religions,when communicating on the net? The question is about proportionality as Ishna sees it. Numbers are tangential. Don't anyone chime in here and tell me it is because kaurs are :angryyoungkaur:confused. In addition, I presume that Ishna is where she likes to be, or she would not be where she is.

It would be nice to hear from the sisters, instead of hearing from Singhs with "correct" answers. Or is this going to be yet another thread at SPN on women's issues headed for extinction. Glub!
 

kds1980

SPNer
Apr 4, 2005
4,502
2,743
40
INDIA
What difference does that make? The topic is: Why don't Sikh women use "sister," as often as women in other religions,when communicating on the net? The question is about proportionality as Ishna sees it. Numbers are tangential. Don't anyone chime in here and tell me it is because kaurs are :angryyoungkaur:confused. In addition, I presume that Ishna is where she likes to be, or she would not be where she is.

It would be nice to hear from the sisters, instead of hearing from Singhs with "correct" answers.

you yourself in your post said that Sikh women has jobs and don't have much time for forums
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Jun 17, 2004
14,500
19,209
If that was the point you were trying to make, it did not come across. If Sikh women have jobs, it would not matter how many Sikhs there are. The kaurs would still be working. Tell us again what you are thinking on this subject. Why is it that Sikh women do not use the word "sister?"
 
Last edited:

Scarlet Pimpernel

We seek him here,we sikh
Writer
SPNer
May 31, 2011
995
1,095
In the Self
Dear Sister Isna

"Our preoccupation with other people -is at bottom a means of getting away from ourselves."

My Soul has no gender,but I understand your sentiment, although through the accident of birth, I'm not really supposed to answer this post, may I on behalf of all the busy sisters out there say dearest sister, your brothers are like your sisters too!

(Being one of only two brothers in my family ,I always wished I had a sister ,maybe that's why I'm so very close to my cousin sisters)
 

kds1980

SPNer
Apr 4, 2005
4,502
2,743
40
INDIA
If that was the point you were trying to make, it did not come across. If Sikh women have jobs, it would not matter how many Sikhs there are. The kaurs would still be working. Tell us again what you are thinking on this subject. Why is it that Sikh women do not use the word "sister?"
On sikhsangat.com bhenji(sister) is very common word used by women because of large participation of same age women.I have seen islamic and christian forums and I have not seen all women using word sister.Obviously on some muslim forums it is commonly used .The fact is we have only 3-4 active forums and participation women is quite small
obviously if out of these small numbers few women say sister and few not then someone may feel that sister is not used.On the other hand they have hundreds of forums with large participation even if small percentage use word sister then it looks big.Nothing more to say
 

Ishna

Enthusiast
Writer
SPNer
May 9, 2006
3,249
5,184
Awe, feel the sisterly/brotherly love!! kaurhug mundahug

I don't use Facebook, so maybe it does come down to where I hang out online. Having said that, I have seen bhen ji used occasionally here and there on most forums, just not as liberally as elsewhere.

Perhaps it is as Gyani ji says, that respect has to be earned.

Fully agree with the 'ji' statement. I use it wherever I go online! And when I use it, it is with respect or affection, depending on the person.

Also related is the idea of viewing those older than you as your parents (or usually with Punjabis everyone is uncle and auntie!), those your same age as your brothers and sisters, and those younger as your children. I don't know where that comes from in Sikhi, but it's a sentiment I like.

KDS you do make a good point in that there are lots more forums and things for those religions with many more followers than SIkhi. I didn't think about that.

Can I just ask a very noob question.. what are all the Punjabi terms for brother and sister?

Bhenji
Phenji
Bibi... are there others?

And am I right in thinking 'veer ji' is a brother term or am I confusing it as someone's name?

:blushhh:
 

Ambarsaria

ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
Writer
SPNer
Dec 21, 2010
3,380
5,687
Awe, feel the sisterly/brotherly love!! kaurhug mundahug

I don't use Facebook, so maybe it does come down to where I hang out online. Having said that, I have seen bhen ji used occasionally here and there on most forums, just not as liberally as elsewhere.

Perhaps it is as Gyani ji says, that respect has to be earned.

Fully agree with the 'ji' statement. I use it wherever I go online! And when I use it, it is with respect or affection, depending on the person.

Also related is the idea of viewing those older than you as your parents (or usually with Punjabis everyone is uncle and auntie!), those your same age as your brothers and sisters, and those younger as your children. I don't know where that comes from in Sikhi, but it's a sentiment I like.

KDS you do make a good point in that there are lots more forums and things for those religions with many more followers than SIkhi. I didn't think about that.

Can I just ask a very noob question.. what are all the Punjabi terms for brother and sister?

Bhenji
Phenji
Bibi... are there others?

And am I right in thinking 'veer ji' is a brother term or am I confusing it as someone's name?

:blushhh:
Ishna ji I believe there is perhaps couple of very fundamental items regarding females in Sikhism as well. If I may note the following,

  • Kaur's
    • Princesses, lionesses don't need further sisterly love
      • They are,
        • Proud
        • They are confident
        • They are equal to men
          • Note: Sikhism perhaps one of the pioneers in embedding such as a given versus Islam or Christianity
  • Typical vocabulary for sisters,
    • Bhain
      • Most common
    • Among known family members many short names like,
      • For younger
        • Females: Nikki, Chotti, Kaki, Guddi, Patloh (thin/skinny), Moteeh (fatty), Thigni (short)
        • Males: Nikka, Chotta, Kaka, (sorry no Gudda), Patlah (little used), Motooh (fatty), Thigna (short)
      • For equal age: Either name or Bhain (sister), Veer (Brother)
      • For elders: Usually relation classification with added "ji"
        • Lot of varieties here of uncles/aunts/parents
Sat Sri Akal.
 

ballym

SPNer
May 19, 2006
258
334
On a different note...
Are they jealous of other girls of same age.
Are they competitive by nature, because of the region of the world they come from.
can we say that Gujarati people enjoy/promote group living?
 

Kanwaljit.Singh

Writer
SPNer
Jan 29, 2011
1,496
2,169
Vancouver, Canada
Perhaps I'm just revealing my egotistical need for warm-fuzzies from my sister Kaurs. Perhaps I'm not doing the right Google searches!

But is there a reason why Kaurs don't seem to be as... I don't know... "mushy" as the women in other religions? Maybe that's why we're Sikhs!
Hmm try this, get a job out of your hometown, live in a flat with 3-4 other Sikh girls, so that you can wake up together in the morning for Nitnem, have kirtan sessions, go to Gurudwara and prepare Degh, food as you learn. Such Khalsa house are indeed bliss!
 

Gyani Jarnail Singh

Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
Mentor
Writer
SPNer
Jul 4, 2004
7,689
14,358
72
KUALA LUMPUR MALAYSIA
Bhaji..Bai Ji (22G 22 is TwentyTwo in Punjabi and G is "JI" )..are also common
Didi is for sister from Hindi...
With Partition in 1947 Indian Punjab LOST avery alrge chunk of Punjabiat/and culture custosm etc overnight....and since then we have been bombarded by sasnkritisation and hindisation of our language culture and society.
 

Caspian

SPNer
Mar 8, 2008
234
154
Why do kaurs need a seperate forum of their own? It's not like this forum is male-specific. I think they do a good job of being gender-neutral. Sikhs can talk to fellow sikhs without concern over whether that fellow sikh is a man or a women. In other religions (ill pick on islam lol) their is more of a distinction between what men and women ought to do and they often have different rules on how to behave regarding the different sexes. On a muslim forum, the cultural taboos of women talkin to men might carry over, leading to stronger male-male and female-female communications. I like the fact that this site has none of that. Keep it the way it is.

Also related is the idea of viewing those older than you as your parents (or usually with Punjabis everyone is uncle and auntie!), those your same age as your brothers and sisters, and those younger as your children. I don't know where that comes from in Sikhi, but it's a sentiment I like.
I especially like the fact that this site has none of those sentiments :p. I would hate to be viewsed as a child by someone older or as a parent by someone younger.

I dont like that sentiment for some reason :p that was one of the main cultural things I always had an issue with growing up "sikh." I would instead put fourth the more general idea of viewing everyone equally regardless of age (or maybe after a certain age like 13 although that is rather arbitrary) kinda like how the sikh community views males and females as equals. Because treating everyone whos older then you as a parent and everyone who's younger then you as a child sets up a hierarchy of sorts. And this heirarchy often spills over into the decision making process where, in my opinion, our elders are given too much say and the youths are given very little say. Ofcourse, I can see this changing as welll now too, as more and more youth get involved with governing the gurdwara's and the community.
 

Create an account or login to comment

You must be a member in order to leave a comment

Create account

Create an account on our community. It's easy!

Log in

Already have an account? Log in here.

Top