Women are taught to trust their intuition.
Men don’t have to, because men don’t need to.
Women have to look over their shoulders,
Because even though
This is a safe neighborhood,
There is still that flesh memory
Of wrongs done
Imprinted into our skin
Since the time we were born.
“Such a pretty girl.”
We have to be pretty,
But that makes us sluts.
We’re asking for it
By the way we strut,
In those shorts,
Down the sidewalk,
When the sun’s about to set.
And now we don’t answer your catcalls
So we’re bitches
And we’re whores,
Because whores are people who don’t sleep with people.
It’s a new definition, just in,
And you better agree,
Because your opinion doesn’t matter
And your voice isn’t welcome
In this discussion.
Just do as you’re told.
And even though this is the West
I still feel that tingle on my spine,
When I walk one block after dark.
I feel the Mulveyian gaze upon me,
My eyes and ears are alert,
And I’m probing the darkness
With my sixth sense.
All the while there are visions in my head
Of men jumping from bushes,
Of girls going into the fields to relieve themselves,
Raped and slaughtered.
It is our collective memory.
Our gender wears it always,
Like a yellow patch.
And if we try to fight it
We are fragile and feeble-minded.
We haven’t a clue what we are talking about.
So now you are going to look at me and say,
I’m a feminist,
Throw that label on me like some sort of slander.
But I am female.
And until I can step outside my door
Not afraid of my own footfalls,
I am going to put these words out there,
And dream of a better world.