Director: Irene Lusztig
Watch Yours in Sisterhood online in the UK: MUBI UK
It’d be nice to say that society has made a lot of progress in the last 40 years in terms of gender equality, but the truth is that there is still a long way to go. Yours in Sisterhood demonstrates that elegantly and eloquently – and, aptly, in the words of the very women who have had to suffer this lack of progress over several decades.
Irene Lusztig gathers them together en masse to share their individual stories, both from now and then – each story given a solo spotlight that only adds to their collective weight. The stories take the form of letters sent to Ms., the USA’s first mainstream feminist magazine. Posted in the 1970s, Lusztig’s participants today read out each missive, before reflecting on their contents, comparing the author’s experiences to their own. The similarities that exist are appalling: we hear of male-dominated careers where women aren’t hired, of the expectation placed upon women to deal with the domestic duties in their house, of the harassment one woman in Atlanta experiences in a public space, of a teenager who comes out as a lesbian.
It’s a simple device and that makes it all the more powerful. Lusztig gets her diverse array of participants to speak to the camera – a direct address that invites us into an intimate safe space, adding an urgency to the heartbreak, a frankness to the dialogue between strangers and a provocative immediacy to that commands us to better. With each time capsule comes a fresh snapshot of feminism both in the present and past, and every diverse narrative that’s added to the intersectional web widens the discourse and increases its relevance and potency. It’s only halfway through that we realise the infuriating reality twice over: the letters were sent to the magazine, but because there were so many received, they were never published. Yours in Sisterhood gives a platform to forgotten voices, and challenges us to listen and remember the voices of today.
Yours in Sisterhood is available on MUBI UK, as part of a £7.99 monthly subscription.
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