Sisterhood. A loaded word that’s somehow taken on even more meaning since Donald Trump, a.k.a. Agent Orange, became president of our neighbour to the south. With this election, everything from abortion rights to marriage equality and fair wages were in more danger and further away from reality than they have been in years. This may be the closest the United States of America has ever gotten to an oppressive dictatorship…
But like Pandora’s Box being opened, some good emerged even here.
Fellow OCAD students, Alyssa and Anna, attended 2018’s Women’s March. Although both had very different experiences, ‘sisterhood’ was a common thread. Alyssa had wanted to participate in the 2017 March but hadn’t had the opportunity. Being from China, Anna was never exposed to such events. While the marches went well beyond the borders of the USA, “for [Anna], the likelihood of such events is quite uncommon, back home in China”.
While American media has a ripple effect that spans the globe, its influence is most obvious in the average Canadian citizen. It made Trump famous and possibly president. Ironically, he is still a part of the media—whether he likes it or not— and he’s even an inspiration for papier-mâché sculptures. Light-hearted though they were, these humorous representations failed to mask “lots of talk of the sexual assaults in Hollywood and different workspaces”. This too was brought to global attention when Trump took office. However, from where Alyssa stood, the environment was “less angry because of the lack of Trump supporters” in Toronto. “It was more of a happy event than an angry one, despite his presidency”. The March gave Anna “a strong sense of being who [she is]”. In homage to this, she wrote a quote on her shirt that boldly stated “his opinion does not define who you are”.
This empowering idea is what brought these two women together in attendance at the March: “it [was] an event to bring all the sisters (no matter what gender you are) together, to remind people what is our right”. The right to define your own sense of self. Alyssa described it as being a “form of family; people that you wouldn’t normally cross paths with are connected because of a similar experience, [acting as] a co-support system for each other”. The impact of sisterhood and standing together as a community is profound. For someone like Anna, who had never before seen anything like this back home, “[it was] really touching to see people bonding with each other and creating a better sisterhood”.