My Angry Feminist Poem

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I began identifying as a feminist before it was cool to do so. I have felt the weight of my gender for most of my life. And I have fought it every step of the way. But being back in India for the past few months brought that fight to the forefront again. And my gut response to my oppression and my oppressive culture was anger. I see anger as a legitimate response. Better anger that spurs action than dejection and surrender to the pitiful state of affairs. And sometimes, I can take the anger and turn it into something more, something better, like art. I might not win an award for it. But it might strike a chord with a reader or two. And that’s better than having it burn a whole in my brain. So here is a piece I wrote well over three months ago. I call it “My Angry Feminist Poem”. 

I am more than a vagina or the size of my breasts
More than your evaluation of “hot or not”
I am not “the helper” or “the weaker sex”
And I will not fit into your imaginary box

I am more than the shade of my skin
More than my sexual orientation
More than a stereotype, label, or diagnosis
And more than a fleeting first impression

Don’t limit me to gender roles
To kitchen duties and laundry loads
Don’t downplay my wit and intellect
Don’t tell me I’m emotional and mess with my head

Don’t make shit up about how I am “nurturing”
I may not see motherhood as my “high calling”
I am more than my education or ambition
More than “career-minded”, “homemaker”, or “super woman”

Don’t reduce me to your assumptions
Or whatever signals you think I sent because
At the party, on the train, at the office, and in bed
My silence does not mean consent

Don’t speak for me, let my voice be heard
And pay attention to my words
Your attitude and platitudes do nothing for me
Oppressively upholding the plague of patriarchy

I am more than daughter, mother, sister
More than girlfriend, fiancé, and wife
I am not your slave, maid, prostitute, or secretary
And no, as a matter of fact, you can’t decide for me

I will not make myself small to protect your ego
Don’t expect me to live in your shadow
I refuse to be ashamed, terrorized, or patronized
And I refuse to let your ignorance slow my stride

I am earth and I am heaven
I am a story still being written
Wild heart, free spirit, untethered soul
I am a complexity, imperfect perfection

P.S. Have You Never Met A Woman, Let Them Stare, and follow me on Instagram.

© Copyright Benita Grace Joy 2016


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