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“We write history with our feet and with our presence and our collective voice and vision.”
Where do we even start. It took immense consideration to decide on a cover image that could represent ‘women’, and to consider what writing could and should fit into the issue ‘women’. We had to think about whether we would keep it light, or throw depressing statistics into the void.
When we think about women, what closely follows is everything that is wrong. Domestic violence, sexual violence, the gender pay gap, childcare and child support, emotional labour, representation in the media and leadership, queer rights, trans rights, racism—just some of the issues that make up women’s struggles.
We lay no claim to the ultimate struggle. We are considerably more privileged than many women. We know that every woman is deeply different, unique, complex, and individual, and we lay no claim to speaking for them. We have only our experiences and views to go from, as limited as they ultimately are. And we have so many questions.
When will women be paid the same as men for the same work? When will female jobs like childcare, elderly care, nursing, cleaning, be respected? When will women not be held as responsible for the emotional well-being around them, the only ones who are taught to care? When will women be able to feel safe and protected?
When will our country not be infamous for domestic violence? When will women not be responsible for the state of the home and what to cook for dinner, and what is needed from the supermarket? When will women stop being the shoulder to cry on or the body to fuck? Equally, when will men be told that being emotional and strong are not mutually exclusive things? That women are strong because they feel. When will men learn that repressing emotions only hurts yourself, and often leads to hurting others. That violence is not a solution; it is an assault.
We’ve spent three weeks making three magazines dedicated to marginalised groups. From Te Ao Mārama, to Queerlient, to The Women’s Issue—each was and is full of powerful voices with something to say. Full of desire for a better state of affairs, for more representation, for more freedom, for rights and recognition.
There is a growing surge of recognition of the psychological and emotional impact that activism for political and social change takes on people. Self-care and self-love are being recognized as essential to individuals being able to care for themselves as well as others. Community and self-care are the necessary accomplices to watching what can seem like a world going nowhere. It is how we can refuse to accept and continue to object to our environment being destroyed, people having their rights refuted, and people being killed because of their race.
But there is hope. All it takes is looking back at the path we’ve walked down, how far we’ve come, how struggles have been won and people have forced change. Hope is seen as weakness because it’s vulnerability, but it takes strength to be vulnerable. Hope is not blind optimism or dire pessimism, it is what keeps us moving forward.
“Making an injury visible and public is usually the first step in remedying it, and political change often follows culture, as what was long tolerated is seen to be intolerable, or what was overlooked becomes obvious. Which means that every conflict is in part a battle over the story we tell, or who tells and who is heard.”