For those of you who have taken a cursory look around this blog you will have noticed we at Stirred are feminists. And being feminists we notice the inequalities in the world one thing I am constantly aware of (as are my fellow feminists) is the harrassment I and many other receive simply for being female in the world, our bodies are constantly being commented on negatively or positively in ways we do not invite (more discussion on that here: https://stirredpoetry.wordpress.com/2011/02/11/new-record-harrassed-twice-by-men-on-the-way-home/ and here: http://www.manchestersalon.org.uk/feminists-and-slutwalk-can-reclaiming-words-empower-women-july-2011.html) the other thing is the corrosive messages by media and other people of what our bodies should look like. I had been toying with this poem idea fro a while but the other day the great blogger Red Newsom wrote about her experiences with her body hair here: http://rednewsom.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/long-hair-dont-care/ which sparked off a debate about street harassment and body image. The comments from some men were ”just ignore it”. Oh if only it were so simple. Women (men are starting to be more affected but it is still women who are targeted more) are constantly told by the media by people on the street by male and female friends and acquaintances how their bodies should be, what they should be doing to their bodies in terms of their body hair, and general appearance (I have been told by various people I ”should” fake tan for example) it is pervasive, it is everywhere, it does not make you a stupid woman to feel impacted by it and while it is not the only feminist issue I get all fired up about, it affects woman’s lives and eats into our mental energy and time and self esteem. Anyway here is the poem, it is a first and I am always worried political poems lose their poetic qualities because they have a message to deliver first of all, comments and advice welcome as with any first draft.
The Woman Who Was All Used Up
‘’ignore it, ignore him’’
by it they mean street harassment by them
the media, no easy task.
first pluck out your eyes
no longer see lascivious stares or sneers
men pantomiming your breasts
on their own flat chests:
your fault for having a comical body,
for being other.
Your eyelashes were likely to be too pale and short
and their colour not the startling uniformity of contacts
Van Gogh both your ears, no longer hear men clamouring
for your attention, trying to get you into cars,
no longer hear ‘’bitch’’ when you don’t respond
no longer hear the latest ad for ridding yourself
of those unsightly underarm wrinkles.
take off your breasts, that outward provision of femaleness
they were always too on show or too covered up,
too little too much, not enough in common with silicone
Lock your cunt up in a box, nothing left to grope
or aim for between the legs.
Then unscrew your legs at the hip joints
those shapely ankles, those thighs
always too much in the thigh, the wrong texture
all that hair, those visible veins
the beastliness of a functioning body
pumping away, growing hair, oxidising, shedding skin cells
modern beauty is stasis.
Still feel strange men breathing down your neck on the bus
remove all that lovely adipose tissue, curved muscle
dismantle the skeleton, those sexy bones beloved of billboards
those ugly pumping veins and the unnoticed brain.