This is the first piece in a series of guest blogs ranging from short prose pieces to poetry composed for member, Chelsea Nabozny’s, high-school creative writing class.
Nabozny explains, “Over the past eighteen weeks, I have been using my senior elective Creative Writing class as a space for students to explore ideas and issues that are important to them and reflect on their ideas through various types of writing. After several weeks of talking as a class about generational issues, technology, and media, I noticed that many females in my class were particularly interested in the way women are represented across these mediums. As a culminating project, I asked my students to create a written piece on any topic that we discussed that they felt particularly passionate about. The students below are a select group who decided to share their thoughts, opinions, and beliefs about what it is like to be a young woman in 2015. The way that this group of students articulated themselves through a variety of writing styles allows for a truly fascinating glimpse into the minds, thoughts, and daily struggles that these young women face. Through these pieces, I hope that other teachers find the confidence and trust to have conversations about gender in their own classrooms and allow their students to explore and grapple with these issues.”
January and February pieces have been submitted by secondary and post-secondary students interested in gender. If you are interested in submitting a piece, please get in touch with us at email@example.com. In the subject line, please mark the message for the webmaster.
“The Neglected Goddess”
You know, throughout my life, I’ve always been told: “Suck in that belly, it makes you look skinny.” “Dress conservatively, any proof of having a body is consent to touch you without your word.” “Your face isn’t beautiful, wear a mask of Maybelline and NYC.” “Act like you’re weak – Speak like you’re dumb.” “Never feel comfortable in your own mind and skin.”
Through broken mirrors and stinging wrists – hungry thirteen year old tummy’s and running, black mascara – I’ve felt the corset in which is women oppression constrict me.
This is for the girl last night who was raped for smiling back. For the girl whose death grip bruises surrounding her throat “taught her how to act like a lady.” For the girl who touches her body and cries – she gained a pound from dinner last night.
You are a Goddess. Your presence is an everlasting coat of shimmering, divine light. Express yourself as you are. Dance so lively, every pound of your bare foot on the ground leaves the Earth trembling in love for you. Speak with authority, speak what you want. Remember you are as strong and powerful as the winds on the highest of mountains and you should never let society think you are weak or incapable.
Your husband and three children don’t make you a woman if you do not have your mind, if you do not have your confidence.
Eat that pizza, sit with your legs in whatever position is COMFORTABLE, wipe off the makeup that makes your beautiful skin break out, set down your razor blades and kiss away your scars of insecurity. Have sex if you want to have sex and refuse to be shamed for it, work in construction if that’s truly what you dream of, don’t force yourself to have three kids and a husband if family life truly makes you nauseous.
You are more than just a “dainty little flower”, you’re an ocean wave so big – so ferocious, all social stigmas drown in your presence.
Have a name, not just a body.
Live your life and do what you want.
Drop any of your expectations for women.
To media, to tradition, to those who believe in women having to “be” a certain way: End the indoctrination of misogyny.
Poem by: Emma Freeman
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