Verbatim – A Poem for International Women’s Day

Verbatim

Because I am a woman
when I am enraged over political or social injustices
you will tell me that I am too emotional
that I am reactive and ultimately illogical.

Because I am a woman
when I am stressed out
or craving community or company
you will tell me that all I need
is a good fuck.

Because I am a woman
whose sexual drive is not as high as you think it should be
you will tell me that I am repressed
and that once again,
all I need is a good fuck.
And a good shrink.

Because I am a woman
who expresses her gender identity
through long hair
you will caution me not to cut it
because you think that will make me less sexually attractive or feminine.

Because I am a short woman
you will call me a little girl
and if I hug you hello
you will pick me up and throw me over your shoulder
as if I were some toy for you to play with.

Because I am a woman
when you compliment me on my intellectual achievements
you will follow up your congratulations
with a suggestive comment
about “what else I might be good at.”

Because I am a woman
you will tell me that you are glad I am not a lesbian
as if my presumed heterosexuality
was there just to fulfill your fantasies or desires,
as if alternate sexualities
that do not include the possibility of you getting off
were a personal affront to your integrity.
Because I am a woman
you will tell me how to react and how to feel
and that I cannot take your words as sources of injury
because you intended them as praise.

Because I am a woman
I will still be paid only .70 to the dollar that you make
Be more likely to be assaulted or raped in my lifetime
Face comparisons to genocidal war criminals if I opt to have an abortion
Be shamed for choosing not to have children
Be shamed for choosing to be single
Be shamed for being
too pretty, too ugly
too fat, too thin
too feminine, too masculine
too virginal, too sexual.

I’ll face all of this – and more
Just because I happen to be

a woman.

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