What American Idol Can Teach Us About Sisterhood

According to this CNN article, American Idol front runner Pia Toscano may have been voted off by catty female fans who, rather than supporting a sexy, talented sister, wanted to see her booted.


Iím not a huge fan of reality TV shows, so Iím a bit out of the loop on this bit of juicy gossip, but I do LOVE the singers that come out of American Idol and religiously download all the music to my iPod, so this comes near and dear to my heart in spite of my reality TV objections. Not only am I bummed that they booted the woman about whom former Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson tweeted, “I cannot believe they just eliminated Pia! ReAlly..???? Long as she walked away with that voice she will be alright!! Just hate to see talent like that go!”

Iím also bummed to think that perhaps this singer with star power got the boot because female fans were playing favorites with the cute boys, instead of supporting a superstar sister.

It Starts Young

It starts young, doesnít it, this tendency to prioritize men over our girls? Weíve all done it. You get your first boyfriend, and although you swore you never would, you suddenly find yourself ditching that mall date with your BFF so you can go for a drive with your new squeeze. You get so wrapped up in your love life that you neglect the girl who has known you since second grade — the same girl who winds up wiping your tears when studly dude kisses the head cheerleader and leaves you in the lurch.

Itís not just the way we neglect our sisters in favor of guys that breaks my heart. Itís also the snide, mean-girl way we treat each other. Is it possible that the overwhelmingly female fan base voted Pia off the show because they were jealous? Did she make them feel insecure about themselves? Did they harbor a bit of sick pleasure in seeing her get rejected? Did another womanís failure make them feel just a wee bit better about themselves?

Itís not just teen girls who do this, though theyíre certainly the most blatant. I know 50-year-old women who are still doing this — cutting down a sister just to make themselves feel better.

Why Do We Do This?

Why canít we blow pixie dust beneath each otherís wings so we can all fly together? As I wrote in this post about jealousy, Iím a big believer in linking arms with those we admire, rather than cutting them down. If a sister has achieved something I desire, I snuggle up closer to her, rub her head for good luck, and hope some of her juju rubs off on me.

What if we all did that? What if we all linked arms with other women in a healing circle and LOVED one another, rather than knocking each other down? What if we could see — really SEE — each other, beyond the masks we wear, into each otherís hearts? What if we could cherish each other unconditionally and feel safe among our sisters, rather than ducking and running for cover because someone might throw a grenade right when we expose our hearts?

Thatís what I love most about the Owning Pink community. I adore you all, and it warms my heart to see how we nurture, support, and lift each other up. Nothing thrills me more than seeing two women who donít even know each other in person supporting each other in the Owning Pink Posse or in the comments here on the main stage.

What if we could take this kind of affection for each other out into the world — into our board rooms and school yards and yoga classes and grocery stores? What if we could lift up a successful, beautiful, kind woman and expect her to return the favor? What if we could vote for the American Idol with the best voice, rather than making life a popularity contest? What if — ultimately — every woman is a winner?

In my book, you all are.

Can you do that? Will you join forces with me to reclaim the sisterhood that is our birthright? Will you make an effort today to say something kind and loving to a woman you know? Even better, will you send out an email to your girlfriends and tell them how much you love them?

You can use this template:

Dearest sisters,
Sometimes I forget how much women matter in my life, and I forget to remind you how much I love, respect, and cherish having you in my life. You never know which day might be your last, so, not to be morbid, but just in case, let me make sure you know that you have touched my life, and Iím grateful to have you in it.

Because I sometimes forget to say so, please let me know if thereís ever anything I can do to support you, and if you ever just need a hug, Iím here for you, love.

When Iím old, will you share a rocking chair near me? It would give me great peace to know you will always be in my life.

With sisterly affection,

(By the way — I wrote that to you!)

You in?

*††† *††† *††† *

Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.com, Pink Medicine Woman coach, motivational speaker, and author of†Whatís Up Down There? Questions Youíd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.

Learn more about Lissa Rankin here.


carlee trent
carlee trent6 years ago


Carole F.
Carole f6 years ago

unfortunately lissa, you are correct about most of these comments. growing up a trusting young woman who appreciates the values of other woman and supports those talents is very difficult for many young girls these days. it's not right, morally or emotionally, but, unfortunately, it's the way of many in today's world. not accusing all, but "mean girls" do exist more now than they did in my generation. maybe it's the competiton they face in this world today, brought on by many areas of the media and....parents.
no excuses for meanness, just a few observations!
pia will be fine, she's talented, beautiful and classy, which puts her ahead of many!

Michael Hester
Michael Hester6 years ago

The last decade of this worthless show has given us proof that nobody has to be a winner to get a record deal; they just have to get ON the show, and be semi-talented and have a stage presence during the act and the questions and interviews between.
Winning gets you a bonus, sure, but anyone who gets to compete has a chance to win themselves a contract.

Rose N.
Past Member 6 years ago

Thank you for posting.

ana p.
ana p6 years ago

i don't know what to say..

Debra Dowdell
Debra Dowdell6 years ago

I think Pia will do well in music! And thanks for the article!

Maija Sarkkinen
Maija S6 years ago

I agree, Pia will do just fine without American Idol. Okay, she didn't dance or strut or put on that sleezy behaviour of some. To me she came across as a real lady with true talent. She made me think of Celine Dion ~ classy and a voice like an angel. She's better than American Idol. Heck, she got a contract the very next day, if I'm not mistaken.

Rose Balcom
Rose Balcom6 years ago

Jennifer Lopez loves the spotlight, that's for sure. I enjoyed all of Pia's performances even if she didn't dance around. She certainly is a very beautiful girl, so are the other girls. I wish Pia well in the future with whatever she decides to do with her life.

Arthur G.
Arthur Goh6 years ago

Excuse me Ms Rankin...did you say: "may be voted off?" Pardon me for sounding too techincal here. But the system only allows one to vote in for one's favourite. There's no such provision to vote someone off.
Let's face it, Pia is generally good but not specifically good enough to win American viewers' votes.

Kerry S.
Kerry Stanwyck6 years ago

Pia was too pageant-esque. Although beautiful looking, she seemed made of plastic on stage, her voice was good but there was the passion behind it was fake. She was a Barbie doll type, seemingly used to having everything handed to her based on her beauty without having to really feel anything. When she was kicked off and actually felt devastated, she finally let loose on that last song and sang better than she ever had before. This was so obvious, I'm not sure why others haven't said it.