“women are things” (Poem, 04/06/07) Doc. #001

The Text:

women are things

Written April 6, 2007 (Age 20)

we must stop objectifying women
let us sell them magazines
let us show them just what sexy is
put it up on tele-screens “tele-screens?” really?

let us sell them their own cleavage
lead them to desire more
let us make them think a “real” woman
is secretly a whore

let us dress them up like paper dolls
and make them walk the street
for sex is just like business, yes
the women will compete

(a cosmo isn’t just a drink
it’s now a state of mind
ladies please be careful of
just how you’re redefined)

we’ll train them to be pretty
to be given diamond rings
women are things

CRITIQUE:

Grade – C

This is not a poem. This is a facebook post disguised as a poem. Consider the awful meter of the opening line: ‘we must stop objectifying women.’ It just sort of rolls right off the tongue, accompanied by vomit.

The irony of the fourth stanza is mind-boggling in its seemingly oblivious mansplaining and didactic tone. Even if the writer’s heart is in the right place, his complete lack of self-awareness and of the complexity of female sexuality is insulting to the women he addresses.

Where are the images? The poem takes place nowhere and features no one.

There is, however, an acceptable use of repetition and a rhyme scheme of sorts.

REFLECTION:

I wrote this poem towards the end of my junior year in college when I was really getting into the idea of writing professionally. Not poetry. No, poetry would never pay the bills; I wanted to write novels. The State College I was attending only had a handful of creative writing courses, and I was trying to take them all before I graduated. I figured being a better poet and essayist could only make me a better fiction writer. It was in an intermediate-level fiction and poetry writing course that I wrote this poem.

To me, this poem is just as much a reflection of the college itself as it is of me and my total lack of self-awareness. It was a medium-sized liberal arts college in a quaint village surrounded by farmland. It was stereotypically liberal in its politics, with an active Women’s Studies program and an enormous pride alliance. I didn’t know this when I applied, but the college attracted every marginalized, out-of-place person within a 100-mile radius–gay, straight, and everything in between and beyond.

I loved it. Suddenly, being 5’3” with a higher-pitched voice and zero ****s to give about being “masculine” didn’t make me all that worthy of noting. I was white, male, and straight, the cultural definition of “status quo.” While everyone else was learning to resist the patriarchy, I got to “check my privilege.”

I loved studying literature and culture from a feminist perspective. I really had my eyes opened by some of the things I learned and I wanted to stand in solidarity with my feminist friends. Hence, the poem. But just because your eyes are open doesn’t mean you’re seeing clearly. I was like a newborn opening his eyes for the first time and trying to provide a solution to the bad shapes he sees. Anything that baby said would barely make sense, just like me and this poem.

~Sean L

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