On Sisterhood, our sisters specifically

a mini – zine from across the pond
reviewed by Hufi, in Saskia’s pyjamas, in London, on a pleasant wednesday morning

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This zine, I believe, has travelled from Montreal, Canada in our friend’s pocket to eventually find itself on my sister’s bedroom wall.

Emily and Kaley made this zine together and I know nothing about them – who they are or how to get hold of their zine. Google took me to goitalone-together.tumblr.com but it hasn’t been updated in a few years.

It’s not a magic eye-opening read but page 5 is my fave and brings it together for me:

“We’re interested in resisting righteousness. Our sisters aren’t perfect and neither are we. You can’t choose your sisters – they just are. But we’re sure as hell going to affirm resistance to the patriarchy in all its forms because that’s what sisters do. And sometimes we’ll let things slide because that’s how things go. It’s important to affirm and share that women respond to the patriarchy in varied and divergent ways. It’s important to affirm it because if we don’t support each other, who will?”

The zine goes on to discuss Anna and Shelby, the sisters of the authors; their differences and their sibling relationship. Special focus is given to listing the ways in which mainstream feminism/feminists (more radical) might dismiss them and all the ways in which these women have been feminists, without framing it as feminism – for example; loyalty to friends, fighting workplace harassment, being confident and assertive, helping friends access abortion and cope with abusive relationships.

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When people accuse her of being a “crazy feminist” she’s willing to calmly point out all the ways they are already supporting the idea of equality. She’s willing to say “if I’m a feminist you probably are too”. This isn’t a stance I’m ever willing to take. But I think it’s pretty cool and important to show people how feminism isn’t scary. As it turns out lots of people support the goals of feminism without knowing how to talk about it. Anna doesn’t like it when I jump down her throat with “radical feminism” or other such political topics. She’s a pretty awesome communicator so she’s willing to tell me when I’m being alienating and not letting her get a word in edgewise. It’s a good reminder that rants aren’t the most useful way to share political engagement.

It makes me think about how much my sisters have done for me, themselves and other people. I can’t talk about what makes me so proud of them, because lots of it is TOP SECRET and they would cringe if I wrote a public list of why I love them (which I do, lots).
What is most frustrating in the relationships with people you love, is having similar values but different attitudes and priorities. This translates into wider circles of friends and activists, but solidarity requires respect for difference.
On page 14, in conclusion: “Talking about our sisters is a broader project of building solidarity. Sometimes we don’t get where our sisters are coming from. Sometimes we disagree with them. But we love them regardless, and that counts for something”.