EDITOR'S LETTER: THE TIES THAT BIND
Happy spring and welcome to the SISTERHOOD issue, an exploration and celebration of unbreakable bonds - chosen and by blood; ride or die femmes who support, uplift, and hype each other up; impactful collectives cultivating safe harbours for creative thought and political activism; the power of girl groups; the beauty of intersectionality; the nuances of femme friendships; those women and femmes who make us better individuals, and, as Ms. Queen Latifah protests, U.N.I.T.Y.
When preparing for this issue, I stumbled upon a quote by novelist, essayist, and professor Toni Morrison that spoke to me deeply, “A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves – a special kind of double.” Just ask Kate and Laura, Beyoncé and Solange, Gigi and Bella, Mary Kate and Ashley, Giulia and Camilla, or Este, Danielle, and Alana. Or better yet, just look at your sister, best friend, or ride or die 4 life.
I'm very lucky to have been born into a fierce, strong, independent net of women - my mother, her mother, near and dear family friends. However, the relationship with my sister - four years younger than I - is one I probably most cherish. It's the relationship that taught me all I know about the meaning of sisterhood. Loyalty, support, a reality check - all unconditionally. She is naturally everything I wish I could be: bold, outspoken, beautiful without a shred of effort, honest in the most brutal sense, confident in all she is, and since day one she has pushed me to be the best version of myself. Like Ms. Morrison, I look at my grandmother, mom, and sister and see my special kind of double. I see people who know exactly who I am, what I've been through, and - despite our differences - respect, champion, and love me for me. Sometimes we find this sisterhood outside of blood ties and amongst collaborative and supported communities. Femme collectives like, Art Hoe Collective, (F)Empower Collective, facilities like The Wing, and Instagram accounts like Muslim Sisterhood offer a platform for a community of women, femmes, and GNC peers to share their perspectives, rally for each other, tell their stories, and fight for issues of representation and equality.
These collectives, along with the history of social spaces for women, made me think of an excerpt from Julia Serano's 2007 book Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity:
"In a world where masculinity is respected and femininity is regularly dismissed, it takes an enormous amount of strength and confidence for any person, whether female or male-bodied, to embrace their feminine self... The hardest part has been learning how to take myself seriously when the entire world is constantly telling me that femininity is always inferior to masculinity"
In this era of #metoo and Time's Up, the lack of female/femme/GNC representation stretches across all disciplines - fashion design, photography, creative directing, film production, music production, social/political work. This is still in large to what Julia Serano expresses above: Society is still quick to dismiss a feminine presence in traditionally masculine spaces, or acknowledge at all the possibility that both can exist in tandem. However, this is equally the era of unity amongst the underrepresented. The power of women and femmes coalescing is undefinable as much as it is unmistakable. Just look back to the past Women's Marches across the globe.
The ties that bind us are sometimes beautifully woven by blood, but sometimes it's by something more unexplainable - a kinship foraged by shared experiences, accepted differences, and mutual admiration. Sisterhood isn't a gendered sibling construct. It's a feeling.It's an universal, attainable bond.
I want to know what it means for you. Send us your essays, photography, collages, illustrations, writings, poems, short stories, listicles, all of it… here. Enjoy our SISTERHOOD playlist, and if you live in the NYC area don't forget to check out our Instagram highlights for an open call that's running through 7 April. Thank you for doing that, and, as always, for being here.
All the love,
Editor in Chief