I wrote only yesterday about how, while portraying a wonderful sisterly female friendship on Parks and Recreation with Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones lapsed into this 'sisterly vice' with Hadley Freeman in an interview. The trouble with the sisterly vice is it is often the only visible way in which women are shown to bond.
It's the constant portrayal of women only interacting in bitchery - which can take many forms, idle gossip, a burn book (or blog now - gosh Mean Girls has aged) or a certain high mindedness that soon descends into concern trolling - that results in some women choosing to opt out, loudly informing people that girls bore her. I do it, so did Amanda Craig, writing in the Telegraph that: "Despite being a cradle feminist, I am ashamed to remember feeling bored by the majority of my own sex for most of my twenties, because men were what interested me. It wasn't just the quest for love and a husband; I was convinced that the way women seemed to think, with the emphasis on emotional sensitivity rather than robust debate, was tiresome - a prejudice largely derived from the inferior education my sex received, which time and experience disproved."
As our brothers seize the opportunity to become fat cats with the cream, as we sister pigeons scratch over the crumbs and we seem to only be able to recognise it by differentiating ourselves. Cosying up to the menfolk all buddy-buddy by saying "Oh gosh, don't worry, I'm not like that" instead of "look what we are reduced to by mere lack of imagination!"
When women knew their lot and it was rubbish. Easier isn't better.
As Craig notes in her article it wasn't long ago that her own generation of women fought for university places and jobs in a way that my generation do not have to. However it is vital we understand we are in the transitional phase. We're still being held back. As Mary Beard said on Friday at a London Review of Books lecture at the British Museum women who speak out and demand their worth is based on the content of what they say: "get treated as freakish androgynes"
"Across the board we still seem resistant of female encroachment into traditional male territory, whether that is the abuse hurled at Jacqui Oatley for having the nerve to stray from the netball court for becoming the first woman commentator on Match of the Day, or what can get meted out to women who appear on Question Time."
"We just have got to have a bit more consciousness-raising, old-fashioned feminist consciousness-raising. How do we use language? Why does it matter? And how does it put women down?...And unless you recognise that it is culturally hardwired into us, then we are never going to get it right."
Maybe there is such a thing as a sisterly vice. Can we talk our way out of its grip? With a sister like Mary Beard, I hope so.