Daughterhood Zine Issue One

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Photography by Cordelia Ostler (above & previous pages) & Georgia Fay Williams (right)

We are not just daughters in one sense, but many, the grand-daughters and great-granddaughters of the entire operation of ‘reality’.

Daughterhood is defined by separation. A physical separation, at birth, from the mother, and also the psychological separation as the brain begins to interpret that which is ‘self’ and that which is ‘other’. Like all relations and identities, daughterhood is dependent. Upon material realities, upon power dynamics and sociopolitical circumstances.

Daughterhood wears many guises, from the traditional western-christian-capitalist concept of the daughter as family property to be married off in exchange for increased wealth, connections or status, to the queering of daughterhood exemplified in the emergence of ballroom culture, where regardless of sex, gender or sexuality the ‘child’ joins a particular House, thereby choosing their own House Mother. As is the case with many LGBTQI+ identifying children the rejection of the birth family is a difficult, necessary act of self-preservation, a bid to escape frequently toxic relationships. By contrast, queer family-making represents a belief in the freedom to love whoever you want and form your own idea of family. The aim of this zine is to explore what it means as womxn to disabuse ourselves of pre-prescribed notions of daughterhood, to ‘recover’ and reconnect, in the sense that ‘recovering means recovering from the very separation itself, regenerating what this separation has poisoned’ (Isabelle Stengers, ‘Reclaiming Animism’), complicating what is abject. Above all we hope you will find this publication affecting.

Photography by Georgia Fay Williams

Princess Peach Was A Carnivore

I wanna be the girl in the peach slices advert. Worrying my poetry is overly hypoglycaemic I can’t roll for shit but I roll and I roll. You should see me in my candy tiara. I feel every cliché and sometimes faint. I take off my bra. Does anyone have a tin opener? This sounds delicious, kind of cute and ambiguous beginning to say what we are and then looking out the window to stop you talking, is it a tiger dipped in blue? I think she is hungry so I throw her these roses. Did somebody pluck her from Lana’s video? ‘Born to Die’ came on the radio. A tiger is one of your five a day: prussic acid, kiwi mandala, music, wine and tigers. I want to eat star stuff for breakfast or nothing at all. I want to eat star stuff with my Yves Klein tiger. But ever we go in circles Love is a famous goldfish, don’t you know I worry for you. I want to eat peaches but I’m nobody’s baby. I eat so much sugar I think I’m in love. Bite my tail to a slice. Tiger knows I’m nobody’s daughter. You swim one lap and then forget whatever I’m lighting up. You stalk one aisle and call it prairie, shelving the air

I smoke, and I smoke. Are you okay? I think I’m okay, perfecting the hour with animal filters all of these likes can’t buy. Slowly, maybe, my laps are sweet and prised from all you open with your jaw going wild I’m sucking your paw and sunsets methamphetamine and sunsets no one died for.

Poem by Maria Sledmere Photography by Cordelia Ostler (left) & Georgia Fay Williams

Seven Kinds of Gossip LIVER Write with your eyes closed. Take a hot vowel and put it in somebody else’s mouth. Go figure.

GRAPEFRUIT The future is a pink dish of this you refrain from carrying.

TABASCO Detox quantum the hour hexagonal. I am used in conjunction and plexiglass dashed on pumpernickel.

POD She kissed who she did not mean to kiss; the varnish chips and I love you.

TEQUILA Your mouth is a tarnished kitten now we are gold-dipped, weeping fur.

MILK A heart is the bonniest instagram. Aquarius season, traits of lust and frost. We lay eleven eggs for this.

LUCOZADE I am absolutely neutral. You tattoo ellipses on the small of my ankle. Feels like typing.

Poem by Maria Sledmere Photography by Cordelia Ostler

haloes & other headwear Angela Carter a real Brontëana winged heroines ruined by paedophilic angelology. Enough of personal mysteries, decreation & amitriptyline, the Castle of Otranto, Mrs Dracula, etc. I don’t need a guardian – I just want to wear a dog collar & be a woman that way. Bear in mind that divine anger is all the rage again & Freud was wrong about Medusa, as per. Hot take: it wasn’t her. In the peripherals the aerialiste fucks elegantly with gravity soft death & her American wings, a harpy, William Blake etc. St. Mary Magdalene & puppy play -

the colour is black, the material leather… We like to suffer in the contours left by angels’ breath. I’m praying for a celestial rebirth into grace, soldered to our haloes by the wrists & ankles – it’s more crucifix that way.

daughter fugue to conclude / i cried when told / the gods fuck / when told / the pomegranate seed / does not represent / a pomegranate // it’s whatever / a palimpsest / always winter for my mother / who is an ice sculpture / of a dragon // meanwhile daphne / solves the problem / of male desire // meanwhile the hesperides / roam colchester / indecently attired / because if they too / get fucked / get too fucked / it’s down to how / they were dressed / obvs no one misses these daughters / much // anyway / even the most / decent princess / should be ready / to transfigure herself / into a tree / at any moment / pregnant masochist / instant ghost // Poetry by Rhiannon Auriol Photography by Cordelia Ostler

The Immaculate Conception Styled by Lucy Proctor Photography by Laura Prieto Modelled by Hannah Lim

LANGUAGE Where does it hurt most? Where do you begin? I still call her mummy, but only to myself- when I see her picture, or in the middle of the night when my longing sounds like prayer. Mother is what I say publicly. Mother provides a distance that prevents her memory getting lodged in my throat. ‘My Mother’, I say stoically,‘died when I was younger’. ‘Younger’ means not quite young enough for her to still be my only god, but not old enough to know the person she was when she wasn’t being my mother. ‘Younger’ means that I remember her face well enough to dream her momentarily into existence most nights, but her voice escapes me.

LOSS Life-not-lived has changed her. The passing of time and seasons And years spent trying to reason her into something that makes sense in death, Has changed her. The outcome of these years has been to turn her transcendental. They do this to all women in the end We don’t exist like them, can’t fit into mankind like men. In this cannibalistic way I’ve turned her into an archetype Poured into her image my sorrow Invested my pain like a tool and Out of bronze carved her a new body, new soul: The

Woman who Never Grew Old.

So now when a man says over a drink, ‘Tell me about your mother’, All I can think of are the bloody trails of Judith, Demeter, HerodiasHer and them merged as one womanly entity portrayed in oil on a long silken bed, And me with his bloody head. Words and embroidery by Freddie Cotton Photography by Cordelia Ostler

what does daughter

“being a womxn - always changing & open to growth & evolution.”

rhood mean to you?

Photography by Cordelia Ostler & Georgia Fay Williams

“I don’t want a seat at the table; I want a deck-chair from which to watch the table’s long-overdue burning.”-momtaza mehri

“fear rooted in a shame felt about the body, sentiments learned in childhood.’” - bell hooks, ‘about love’

“no, there was nothing that could be said to a mother.” - chantal ackerman

“we are encouraged to be ashamed of our rage, and enraged by our shame. that is my experience of being a woman.” - kathleen ossip


towards a queer aesthetics of f e m a l e shame and


Photography by Cordelia Ostler & Georgia Fay Williams Words by Rhiannon Auriol

If living is ‘self-devouring’¹, to eat is to mother ourselves.

Eating is the active sustainment of life, a taking into ourselves of the world. It has as many intimations as there are situations, all at once an aphrodisiac, a turn-off, a desperate act, it can get ugly, or colourful, it can be pleasurable or only tolerable. However, as is also true for many other areas of representation, in the arts womxn are not shown to eat equally. Where male figures may enjoy food without import, a portrayal of a womxn eating will be imbued with symbolic weight; as with the female nude there is always a shade of the political, of the sexual, of misogyny’s partial gaze.

¹Denise Riley, A Part Song

From the enduring depictions in classical art of Eve’s ‘original sin’ of eating the forbidden fruit, or Paris judging which of the three goddesses Athena, Aphrodite or Hera should win the Golden Apple, to the fact that contemporary TV shows can centre entire plots around a woman’s relationship with food (Insatiable, Netflix 2018), it is much harder to find a neutral representation of womxn eating than of men.

We begin with

Persephone. What did Persephone want?

Her story is framed through the description of what others want for her or to do with her. As Hades’ prisoner, Persephone is described as fasting in protest and in hope of freedom, the refusal of food an act of primal defiance and expression of suffering famously used

by the suffragettes in early 20th century Britain. In the same way that the suffragettes’ hunger strikes resulted in a brutal forcefeeding, Persephone ends up tricked into eating the pomegranate seeds by Hades and doomed to spend half the year in hell. In some accounts however, Persephone is not tricked at all, and instead eats the six seeds of her own volition, a narrative grey area which imbues the whole myth with an air of slipperiness, a translation which stinks with the mindset of victim shaming. After all, this arbitrary ‘food rule’ of the underworld does seem awfully convenient. But the violent reality behind the story - that the pomegranate seed does not represent a pomegranate seed, rather is a metaphor for the sexual control exerted over womxn’s bodies by those with more power - is not quite so easy to digest.

The general sense that Persephone deserved her mythological fate stems entirely from her one act of ‘greed’ – regardless of whether she was forced or not. The fact that she ate, that she consumed, is equated to a promiscuity of spirit, a female wantonness which immediately justifies the punishment of 6 months of every 12 trapped in a nonconsensual relationship, because she was obviously just gagging for it. ‘When

you say ‘I am hungry’’, Ruby Tandoh writes in her book Eat Up, ‘…what

you’re really saying is that you’re alive. You are

myth, intestine, splendour, fart, divinity and heaviness all at once.’ Women who want are a threat to the male economies of desire; they are asserting an agency, a force which resists passive consumption. So how is this female hunger to be suppressed? By framing it as something shameful, something disgusting. Because ‘disgust is more




as Zarina Muhammed of The White Pube writes in their essay ‘Eat The Rich’, posted beside a screenshot of Kim Kardashian’s larder tour. What I took away from the juxtaposition was this: showing off your ‘food’ is desirable, so long as you’re not seen eating it yourself. The eating of forbidden fruit

is a common euphemism for transgressive sexuality. Christina Rossetti’s poem Goblin Market is ripe with the imagery of queer sexual consumption so perfectly encapsulated in the forms of the ‘plump unpeck’d cherries’ for sale,

‘pomegranates full and fine’. This fruit is a ‘disembodied signifier’ (Muhammed,

‘Eat The Rich’), a symbol of shameful desire - and yet uniquely corporeal. The body knows what it wants. But the body is to be denied. This is evident in the message (perhaps a critical one) of Goblin Market that to eat of the forbidden fruit is to be spoiled with Eve’s original transgression, to be cast out like Mary

Magdalene. Female sexual energy is not something to celebrate, rather something to be overcome, so that Lizzie and Laura can go on to satiate themselves with their TRUE destinies as

‘wives / with children of their own’, obviously.

Instead of our own hunger, our own pleasure, what should disgust womxn is the way that sexual-moral properties are assigned to such a fundamentally important and joyful act as eating. For example, in the film Blue is The Warmest Colour (2013) directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, any shots of lovers Adele and Emma eating are drenched with innuendo, but not in a way that liberates lesbian sexuality from shame but rather turns it into a spectacle. Food is used to frame and draw attention to parts of the body which are (normatively) sexualised, oysters in the mouth a cheap amuse-bouche before the main course of a 10 minute long sex scene which even the original graphic novel’s author Julie Maroh denounced as ‘a brutal and surgical display’.

The use of the word ‘surgical’ here sums up the objectification throughout the film, as the bodies portrayed are constantly being broken down in prolonged exposures, digested by the director’s male gaze, the frames equating all female appetites as one while the film’s ending suggests that female fulfilment of any form is a project in failure.A film which truly embraced a queer ethos would have acknowledged that ‘appetites exist in a full

circle, or in a sonata where eating and touching and making love and feeling close are all distinct chords that nonetheless meld with and complement one another’ (Caroline Knapp,

‘Appetites’). A sonata - not the director’s indulgently pornographic solo. What I want to know is why can’t Lizzie and Laura or Adele and Emma both eat the forbidden fruit AND achieve domestic stability? A heterosexist culture presupposes any female sexuality which does not lead to reproduction as ‘deviant’. In other words,

womxn cannot have their cake and eat it in a patriarchal society. The dominance of the heterosexual narrative means a rejection of the

‘polymorphously perverse account of sexuality’ which would resist submission to the male sexual hierarchy of the norm. To queer the narrative is to decentre the dependence upon voyeurism and reassign autonomy to a subject’s body; it is to

give up the notions of ‘universality, truth,

and rigid identities… connected to the notion of desire’

(Antke Engel, ‘the desire for queering capitalism’). In other words, queerness removes dominance, invites fluidity. For example, a queer reading of the myth of Persephone might look something like this: when Persephone vanishes through a crack in the earth the Sapphic symbolism is potent – a reverse birth, resulting in the loss of the earth’s fertility, as Demeter, in a radical honouring of her daughter, goes on strike. In this

version the complex motherdaughter relationship is the focus, not the female masochism of self-denial, or the voyeuristic cruelty of the gods. Meanwhile the act of Persephone eating the pomegranate could be interpreted as a queer act, and its consequences the reaction of a heteropatriarchal society: imprisonment, tricked into being a wife, closeted underground – a metaphor for the queer experience. In this version, the focus is less upon the physicality of events but on their consequence. It asks what happens after

the narrative ends, does not accept the finality of Persephone’s fate, related through a one-way lens. It

allows for the possibility of the TASTE of the forbidden fruit. Remembers that it is delicious. The male gaze enjoys yoking food and sex together for its own consumption. Like Persephone, womxn are unstable presences, subject to narrative framing, mythical creatures in the great booming male bastion of history. And this is how we are expected to have always existed: without nourishment. But through queer art forms female shame around food and sex can find reconciliation and healing. Womxn can stop being at war with themselves to become ‘gleefully corporeal’- not again because perhaps we never have been - but at last – emerging -

Persephone from the underworld, euphoric, elated (Joan Didion, ‘The White Album’).

poem by Georgia Bloom collage by Jasmine Romani-Romero

giving birth to my mother call me bubbe call me chuchi bring me safety bring me sweet puppy-bounding to my door perched my bird head cocked my mother curl hand over head lean to kiss my cheek i flinch, unmeaning i stand separate to your dressing gown i can’t breathe in your polka dots

mother to my mother daughter to her daughter sister friend nonetheless my one way confidante

don’t want to be wombborn want be created my own creation self creation create myself grow myself plant myself fruit myself bloom myself die myself create myself see your body in my body break heart with mind give me your compassion No don’t No stop please Stop stop handing me things Stop handing me your heart please I’ll drop it won’t and

and its like there’s this disconnect and I couldn’t be better but there’s so much I could tell you that I forgive me for not asking

i suppose it doesn’t matter anyway if i’ve decided to immaculately conceive myself a funny thing for me jewish born of jewish born to say but it is what it is

At the center of the garden the heart. Red as any rose. Pulsing balloon vine. Love in a puff. Heartseed, heart-of-the-earth. A continuous flow of red. (from: The Garden Body: A Florilegium by Sylvia Legris)

“The idea of the symbolism of flowers within discourses of femininity was interesting to me. I wanted to create quite delicate and ethereal images of flora, using the ‘language of flowers’ as interesting typography work to interact with the obscure visuals.” -Thea Bryant



neshama sheli* In the no-man’s-land of a therapist’s office, we dissect life like a carcass – carving open keloid scars rigged like peaks, mountains unbridgeable between your worlds and mine. Ima, I’m sorry I see my youth as anything other than golden. Threads of sun spilling on darker soil – I do not know how to nurse my own illness. I have been told you are my strength, the weakness I know from years spent cursing my internal feminine shaking with words your memory forgot. No Ima, his palm never hurt me more than I wanted – glassy-eyed, begging him to do anything but stop, my inner child stung and weeping with validation. I do not know where your light has buried itself – years of corroding yourself in order to become your childhood vision of what a woman should be. Giving and vulnerable and so in want of tender you wept with expectation from nameless voices.

Ima, I don’t know why I had to weep with you – but curled over your shrunken form I stretched my limbs to shield you from the loud that bound my throat praying for the strength that grown-ups had to protect not only others but also themselves. In the no-man’s-land of a therapist’s office, we suture our mutual wounds – knitting together our split perspectives, understanding lays between us with an unspoken promise that when we light our candles on the Sabbath this week we’ll be creating golden together.

*Hebrew for my soul, my essence.

poem by Anonymous


I was born of a woman who paid her own way through university and completed two master’s degrees, the only female board member in a prestigious company, with two toddlers at home. And then, even when afraid, she called them out after claiming they were an equal and unbiased company - even when it meant she was fired the next week. She started her own company instead. Despite English being her second or third language, she sat in her room for a week after her end of year university exams and read through the entire Lord of the Rings series in the original English. My mother and I are made of the same strong stuff. But still, guilt creeps in on me. Guilt and shame and worry that I can never do what she did. She fought through so much, and in many ways it’s

ma easier for me and I think: what can I do to match her? If I don’t fight am I a disappointment? If I do, am I searching for a battle? If I thank her for her service and don’t further it am I ungrateful? And worst, what about when I want to call her out? What if I want to tell her about something wrong that she’s done for me, a dark smudge on this picture? Something difficult I would like to talk to her about, woman to woman, friend to friend, mother to daughter, about the negative impact some of her rules and regulations have had on me? That I understand why she asks things of me, but she does not have to demand and threaten consequences? What about when she turns all that same strength and ferocity she used to say fuck you to sexism, on me?

I am strong because she showed me how. I am also strong because she is showing me how not to be. Our love is a Hotel California where I can leave anytime I want, but never check out. And yet, I love her. I love that I am her daughter. I love that I can call her my mum, mama, maman. Even with the guilt. Even when I am her disappointment first, daughter second. Even when she tells me I’ve broken her heart. I guess there’s a certain chill that comes from growing up in the shadow of fierce and successful mothers.

words by Michelle Tuxen illustrations by Hazel Jane

i’ll tell you all about my love while she is standing in the corner moving to the beat of a song that she knows pretty well trying to think of interesting things to say to the boy in the room drinking whiskey trying to forget about the conversation she had earlier with her mom on the phone while he’s standing outside smoking his last cigarette deciding whether his shirt looks good tucked in to his belt or whether it was better half in half out the way he had it this morning at his meeting in the office while she scrabbles at the table with her boyfriend wondering whether it’ll all work out saying it’ll all work out because it’ll all work out and while he refills her wine falling in love with her smile because everytime she smiles he will fall in love

with her smile while she is cumming and she is gasping for breath and stroking the chest of the woman beside her kissing her breasts and promising her the world while the music plays softly and she wonders how life could ever be sweeter while he’s searching cracks in the pavement for pennies and quarters asking every person who walks down the street for something just something always wishing a pleasant evening to every hopeless person who avoids his eye and shakes their head saying sorry buddy I’ve got nothing while he parks at the gas station and fills up his tank wondering whether he’ll leave her tonight and what he’ll tell the kids and he scratches his head and begins to cry quietly begging for an answer while she is brought down to her knees and she is lying through her teeth

when she promises her god that this time will be different trying to believe in something real trying to believe in something good trying to think of something to eat for dinner. I’ll tell you all about my love while you smoke a spliff and watch the news wondering why there’s nothing you can do but wash your hands and watch youtube next to me on the bed where I lay sipping wine finding it hard to cope with the quiet but you’re there smiling at something I said something about our love.

poem by Stella Benenati photography by Cordelia Ostler

EMOTIONAL HISTORY Later, in Brooklyn the eggplants are in fruitful labia gorging erogenous purple patches the female labour; New York 1984. (M)other.

poem & photography by Rhiannon Auriol

ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTORS Rhiannon Auriol (she/her) is a young creative currently based in Edinburgh, & is the founding editor of Daughterhood Zine. Some of her work can be found online at And Other Poems & in the Oxford Review of Books, SPAM Zine, Cake Magazine, rgbcolourscheme and 5.18 mag. She is also copyeditor at Sunstroke Magazine and media editor at PublishEd (ig @ rhiannon.auriol)

Stella Benenati (she/her) is a writer of poetry & prose from Santa Barbara, California. In her work she focuses on maximising the mundane moments inherent to being human. Stella studies English Literature at the University of Edinburgh where she co-edits Nomad Magazine.

Georgia Bloom lives between London and Edinburgh and is interested mostly in things that are very pretty or very ugly.

Thea Bryant is an artist and graphic design student at Edinburgh College of Art. Some of her work can be found on ig @_bythea.

Freddie Cotton is a writer who likes writing about dead mums & other things. Gorgeous opinions,

stuning CPTSD. Only lost 6 of her baby teeth.

Hazel Jane (ig @hazl.art) is a 21 year old artist living in Edinburgh. Her work stems from studying fashion illustration in London, from which she then honed her skills to focus on portraiture. Her expressive line work is inspired by the topography found on weather & land maps to give a raw, organic air to subjects within her pieces.

Hannah Lim is an artist who works with sculpture between London & Edinburgh, exhibiting in the RSA Annual as well as being featured in Canvas Magazine, Sukeban Mag & many others. Prints of her creations & collabs are available to purchase at https://www.artthou.co.uk/ hannah-lim.


Ostler is a fine artist from London, working predominantly in photography. Her work is concerned with intimacy, sexuality, and the sensual. Her practice is heavily rooted in and complementary to her study of Art History and the issues of screen/filmic representation. Her work can be found online at cordeliaostler. com and @cordelia.o

Laura Prieto is a photographer born in Madrid & now based in Edinburgh. Her work has been featured in VICE Spain & Halos Fotografia among others (ig @ lauraprietophotography).


Proctor graduated with a degree in Fashion Communications and now works as a stylist and creative director between Glasgow & Edinburgh. Her work can be found at lulastyling.com. Jasmine

at a stripclub (Mermaid Motel), nature sounds without nature sounds (Sad Press), Pure Sound (SPAM Press) and Rainbow Arcadia (Face Press). Her poem ‘Ariosos for Lavish Matter’ was highly commended in the 2020 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, and her work was included in makar / unmakar, a recent anthology of contemporary poets in Scotland, edited by Calum Rodger and published by Tapsalteerie.

Romani-Romero, Michelle Tuxen is a 4th year

or Primcess, is a PeruvianAmerican collagist from South Florida living in Jersey City. After spending years as a freelance illustrator, music photographer and videographer in Miami, her focus switched to collage in 2017. Inspired by music and magic, she seeks to create whimsical works that explore the occult, mythology, feminism and transformation. She founded and currently runs the Jersey City Collage Club.

psychology student at the Unviersity of Edinburgh, writing on the side & muddling through so that she can live enough life to appreciate the art.


Fay Williams is a stylist & photographer from London, studying at Edinburgh College of Art. Find her work on ig @georgiafaywilliamz or at georgiafaywilliams.com.

With thanks to models: Amelia Wang, Ellen Clarke-Quy, Lily Maria Sledmere is working on a Whitehead, Tuva Fried Nielsen, DFA in anthropocene aesthetics Hannah Kingsbery, Hannah at the University of Glasgow. She Lim, Cordelia Ostler, Georgia is a member of A+E Collective, Fay Williams & Stella Benenati music journalist, editor at SPAM Press, poetry editor at Dostoyevsky Wannabe and founding editor of Gilded Dirt. Last year she published four pamphlets: lana del rey playing

For information about future issues and submissions find Daughterhood Zine on ig @ daughterhoodzine or email daughterhoodzine@gmail.com.