We use the word “lesbian” to embrace and celebrate all possible forms of love and intimacy between people who identify with the female side of the gender spectrum, who have identified as such or have been ascribed a female gender at some point in their lives. We embrace gender as an orbit full of possibilities.
We want to make visible forms of lesbian relating that all too often disappear behind the dominance of male* love (both outside and within queer communities). We encourage inclusive and feminist reappropriations of the word “lesbian” and hope to open up a space that allows for these meanings to emerge.
We want to create a feminist safer space, which means that racism, sexism, biphobia, transphobia, queerphobia, fatphobia, homophobia, butchphobia, sissyphobia, ableisms, ageism, femmephobia, toxic masculinity, misogyny and classism are not welcome here. Visitors to the space are invited to actively reflect upon these structures of oppression.
There will be a team member hosting each evening at Mothers & Daughters. They are there to enjoy themselves and to be a contact person if you need info, help or support. Ask at the bar if you need to know who is hosting. The host will intervene if someone is receiving unwanted attention and will ask people to leave if they are compromising this feminist safer space.
This bar has a different economy than you may be used to.
There is a documented difference in wages, education, support and economic and social freedoms for many of us due to our ethnicity, gender and/or sexuality.
At Mothers & Daughters we use a pricing system that tries to address the documented gender gap in Belgium.
The overall gender gap in Belgium stands at 26%, which is the difference between the average economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment between women and men. It takes into account three types of disadvantages women face:
If you have a privileged position that means your wages, and access to opportunities and documented work are positively affected by your gender, sexuality and/or ethnicity, then choose menu B.
For the rest of us, because of our sexuality, ethnicity and/or gender we choose menu A.
Global Gender Gap (from The Global Gender Gap Report 2018):
Anne Smolar, Gia Abrassart, Minna Gillberg
Alison Jip, Josefine Reisch, Lucy McKenzie (2018)
Nathalie Wathelet, Water girls (2018), Forget me not (2018)
Mia Melvær, le LAC (Lesbian Almanack Concentrate) (2018)
A very, very special thank you to Clare Noonan, Goedele De Caluwé and ooooo.
Mothers & Daughters would not have been possible without the labour and resources donated by Alberto García del Castillo, Alison Jip, Annie Gilberg, Birde Vanheerswynghels, Catherine Bailey Gluckman, Despina Vassiliadou, DinoBoom / Arg!, Ella Sutherland, Fanny Desmedt, Farah Barqawi, France-Laure Labeeuw, Habiba Effat, Josefine Reisch,Justine Sarlat, Karoline Swiezynski, Katlijn Van Audenaerde , Kato Six, Laurie Charles, Lise Goossens, Loraine Furter, Lucy McKenzie, Marij and Paul Lemmens, Margot Vanheusden, Marra Ittel, Merce Almuni Calull, Mophradat, Muriel Meert, Nathalie Wathelet, Olivier Thys, Sophie Kurpershoek, Inès Fransen, Marie, Mathilde Lacroix, Caroline Vincart, Stefanie Snoek, Thierry Timmermans, Wendela Busselot, Sarah Chandler and Claire Gilder, and our working bee participants and many others.
And to the talented creatures who provided playlists!
Our name was proposed by Rachel O’Neill, a poet and visual artist based in Aotearoa New Zealand. Like many of us in queer relationships, Rachel and their partners have been misread as relatives, and the name is in honour of their experience and chosen families everywhere. We asked Rachel to write an introduction to Mothers & Daughters:
‘Mothers & Daughters,’ the account executive says, dunking a knowing smile up and down in the mug.
‘I’m seeing a mother placing a hand on the knee of a daughter,’ the sub-executive adds.
‘They’re relating, not related,’ says the client. ‘Remember, in the brief, the quote marks?’
‘Wink wink,’ says the client’s phone.
‘Sorry, I thought I’d put my phone on silent,’ the client says.
The executives exchange a look. The product is becoming. They will have to retrieve it from the becoming place.
‘I don’t even need knees in my fantasy,’ the client’s plus-one clarifies, leaning back, eyes closed.
‘The knees aren’t important, always, I’ll give you that,’ the executive says, playing for time, scrambling around for a new metaphor.
‘Except when I’m in France,’ says the plus-one with a professional slap and a giggle.
‘Metaphor comes from the French métaphore, via Latin from the Greek metaphora, from metapherein, which means ‘to transfer’,’ says the executive.
The sub-executive, the client and the plus-one blink. The phone wink winks.
‘Sorry,’ the client says, fingering the screen.
‘Mothers & Daughters,’ the executive rallies, stumbles.
‘I’m seeing a knee, a lovely dirty knee,’ the sub-executive says.
The plus-two coughs.
‘We’ll call you,’ the client says, literally opening the door.
The executives fade away.
‘At Mothers & Daughters there are…’ the plus-three begins.
‘...transfers of energy, of senses, of loves, maybe even dark matters,’ say the whole collective, all eyes open, dancing close.
Mothers & Daughters has financial support from equal.brussels, the Cellule Egalité des Chances de la Ville de Bruxelles. Location generously offered by CPAS Bruxelles, with the blessings of Karine Lalieux (Échevin de Commerce, Ville de Bruxelles).
This is not a commercial project—we are committed to keeping the entry to Mothers & Daughters free and open for all, and to offering a much needed safer space and special events without the pressure of making profit. Out of respect for the artists, musicians and activists contributing to the program of Mothers & Daughters, selected events will have the option for participants to give a donation.
In the event that we do make a profit from running Mothers & Daughters, we will use the funds in the following way, with the numbers indicating priority:
1. Paying those who gave their labour for free or for reduced rates. 2. Reimbursing costs incurred by the team. 3. Creating a fund for future projects.