Poem – Gender Equality

I have traveled far
but where have I reached?
I have adapted to roles
that have changed like tides of sea.
I give you all,
you take all from me
yet won’t place me where I am meant to be,
wont give me what is due to me.
Not only you,
all of humanity.

It started when I was a child,
even as toddler it was instilled in me,
with dolls and delicate toys
that evoke
femininity,
subordination,
inferiority.

As I grew older I saw your dominance
all around.
Enforced by society
with labels
placed on me
when I’m ‘scantily clad’,
if I am with more than one man,
if my kids have different dads.
Fear of being labeled
keep me in line
not all but a lot of the time.

Even media uplifts you
implying you’re better,
stronger,
smarter,
the heights all wisdom,
leaders of nations.
Let me tell you a few things
you know nothing about,
menstruation,
pregnancy,
child birth, lactation.
Educational factors handicap
indirectly teaching me
economic dependency.
In the workplace
is a glass ceiling
that I’ve cracked
but can’t seem to break.

I see your dominance in every institution—
except the home.
Here, suddenly I know whats best.
Even if you’re there,
you’re marginal
children fatherless.
So after work I come home
cook,
wash,
iron,
clean everyone’s mess—
unpaid.
Life’s a plantation
I’m a house slave.
End of the day, tired as hell
still sexually available to you.
When you plant your seed
I bear
again
and again
building nations that you will rule,
nations that will disregard me
like you did,
like you still do.

Your masculinity enforced
through religion and myth too.
In the Church
You always preaching to me.
Why can’t I give a word to you?
Don’t feel so bad when I recognise
The inequality isn’t only in my house
its in the Lord’s house too.
You preach that God gave Adam’s rib to Eve
and said in Genesis 3:16
that you should rule over me.
You don’t interpret it with guidance and love
which is the way God rules over us all
but with dominance and aggression,
treating me like a mere possession.
I’m so much more.
Your other half—is me.
Spiritually broken,
can’t fulfill our true purpose,
or what were meant to be.
Man and woman both incomplete,
never to be whole,
until we stand abreast,
as two bodies,
two minds,
one soul.

If all other enforcement tactics fail
forms of harrasment and violence
is an ever present
and effective way
in which you intimidate me
You feel even more powerful
seeing me bent head and lowered eyes
or back bent and on my knees.
Its not enough that you own me
You must ruin me too.

All these factors
over time
internalized by me
developing a temperament and sense
of inferiority
that wont end
its a cycle you see
I’ll continue to instil it
in the ones that come after
it will become a part of them
as much as its a part of me
How will I ever break free?
I don’t have the answer,
it was not taught to me.

I have travelled far
but where have I reached?
I have to adapted to roles
that have changed like tides of sea.
I give you all,
you take all from me
yet won’t place me where I am meant to be,
wont give me what is due to me.

Until then in God I abide,
praying for the day
you pull me from underneath you
and place me at your side.
If not in this one
then in my next life.

Spoken by: the voice of past and present dutiful daughters, mothers, and wives.

© G. Emmanuel 2009

 

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I’m Not Dead.

Hello Friends,

I haven’t been here for awhile. I haven’t posted and I haven’t solicited postings. The thing about activism is this: sometimes you get tired, sometimes you feel like your efforts are insignificant, sometimes you feel like a failed feminist and you think “What can I offer anyone?”

Of course the answer is “Anything you have”. To listen. To tell your story. To share someone else’s story. To say to someone “I hear you”. To pick someone up when they fall. To wait when they say they’re not ready. To keep a lifeline open. To learn more. To ask “What can I do?”

And sometimes you need community. And sometimes community disappoints, like we all do. But we are ALL great. If even in a moment. And sometimes we just need someone to remind us that we are worthwhile, significant. That our small efforts do land somewhere.

imageLynn Sweeting, who has been publishing Caribbean women’s writing for many years at the WomanSpeak Journal (yeah, I know, great minds and all that) sent me a facebook message one day and said “Simone, I want you to submit something to the journal. Your anti-violence voice is SO IMPORTANT, I want to showcase it.”

And so I submitted a poem I didn’t think would find a home anywhere else besides a journal like Lynn’s. And maybe someone reads it and it touches something; helps them see a situation with new eyes. So, even when we feel like we have nothing to give, someone reminds us that every little bit counts.

Etiquette for Fine Young Cannibals

A woman walks into a bar and says
What’s for dinner?
The bartender says
Ma’am, we don’t sell food here
She kicks off her high heels and sits on a stool
What about that bowl of cherries? You
think I’m a fool?
The bartender says
Those aren’t cherries, they’re women we’ve raped
The woman says
You think I’m a fool? I know the difference
between food and rape
Rape is bloody, is hung up in display cases
at the front of restaurants
People walk by and pick out the one
that looks overdone
have the waiters take it to the kitchen
chop it up and serve it with a side of white rice
Ma’am, says the bartender, this is an elite establishment
we don’t deal in dead. All our rapes are 100% guilt free
tiny bite-size murders
dressed in machismo and
apathy
buried
left to ferment
in a bed of self-doubt
and silence.

Simone Leid

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Unbroken

image

And she cries into the sea
that will someday bring her
ashes home

And she sings a song of feedom
that her people brought here
a long long time ago

And she washes her blood from the
tile — like the river, it has also
traveled for miles

And in the fresh day
she mends — their socks, a button
her heart

And she draws back the curtains to let in
the light that still stings her
near swollen eye

And she smiles with a calm
because God is her rainbow at the
end of each storm

You may break a woman’s bones
but never her spirit…
At least not for long

Copyright 2012 © Mika Maharaj

Trinidad

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Women Of Antigua

Women Of Antigua is a group of women who use the performing arts and theatre to raise awareness about issues of violence against women. Created in 2008 as a response to the increasing reports of rape in Antigua, the group which comprises 4 women – Linisa George, Thomasine Greenaway, Zahra Airall and Greschen Edwards – donate all the proceeds from their productions to women’s groups in Antigua.

The video is directed and edited by Floree Williams, information compiling was done by Joanne Hillhouse and video production by Jon Whyte.

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Danielle Boodoo-Fortune is a poet and artist from Trinidad. See more of Danielle’s work at her blogsite http://danielleboodoofortune.blogspot.com/

 Today we examine desire. Danielle’s wonderful painting and poetry evoke that fiery, caught-up-in-the-moment feeling we all recognise as sexual desire. Lust. Our definition of effective consent tells us that consent can be verbal or non-verbal. What are some of the actions that signal that consent has been given? Is physical arousal consent? Can our minds and bodies contradict one another? Which one wins out? Can we withdraw our consent once it’s been given? Can a person claim rape if they participated in some form of sexual activity but did not want to take it any further?

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Wrapped

Wrapped is about sexuality and Christianity and the internal battle that is produced by their clash. It is about comfort, self recognition and being valued by your partner. But while the man is bareback, the woman is still fully clothed. It represents choice and comfort with your choice to wait with the knowledge that the one you have chosen is willing to wait on you if you so desire… ~Marielle Barrow

Marielle Barrow is a Trinidadian artist, scholar and  Founder / Managing Editor of Caribbean Intransit : A Caribbean Arts Journal.

 I really like this piece by Marielle. Apart from being a beautiful artwork, it says so much about a woman making her own choice about her sexuality and her partner respecting that choice and not trying to coerce her into doing something she doesn’t feel ready to do. How can couples who have different views on sex, and are at different levels of readiness to engage in sex, figure out how to maintain a successful relationship?

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Submission and Dominance: This depicts where submission and dominance are both acceptable within the realm of sexual pleasure, where the woman is laying unresisting in the lap of her partner, who freely dominates her.  It is consensual, and it is being enjoyed by both parties. ~ Portia Subran

See more from Portia Here 

 Ok, now don’t be shy. Let’s hear your views. Do you agree with Portia that submission and dominance can be consensual? Is there a difference between “submissive” and “submission”? Is “unresisting” always an indication of consent? How can you know the difference? 

 

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Cuddle After

Cuddle After: This image is fundamentally illustrating the dynamics of the after-intercourse relations.  Both parties have remained to take part in each others’ company rather than leaving immediately.  This is more of a “there is love involved in this sexual relationship”, and thus leads the viewer to understand that it is consensual. ~ Portia Subran 

Learn more about Portia Here

 Ah, love. Basking in the afterglow. Do people in love ever consent to sex even when they’re not in the mood? How do you tell your partner that you want to try something new or that you really really really hate doing that thing that they really really like doing? Do women really know how to initiate these types of conversations?

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Tracey Chan, Consent, Digital Illustration, 2011 

I decided to start off the series with this illustration by Tracey Chan because I think it so brilliantly conveys the true meaning of consent.

(If you click on the top half of the pic it will enlarge)

 Tell me what this picture says to you about sex and consent?

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While Walking Up Back Street

While walking up Back Street

in green tank, yellow mesh T-shirt

and loose blue jeans

a copper hails me from

the other side of the street,

Ras, eh ras,

Dem breast dey look real sweet,

Ah just want dem breast dey,

Just de breast, you hear ras?

And me, being the polite

And obliging lady

My parents brought

me up to be,

Coolly took out a

Meat cleaver

(cause you never know

when a copper is gonna

ask for your boobs)

And commenced to saw

Through them

One at a time,

first right

then left,

And I took them

Over to the copper,

Silver spittle

Drooling

Shock and awe

Manifesting in his

Narrow copper face

As he stares at

two perfect melons

sitting in gouts of

blood and mucus

In my outstretched hands

(well what did he expect?

I was never one for silicone meself)

I took the melons and stuffed them into

Narrow copper’s pockets

And wiping my hands on my

Loose fitting jeans

Walked all the way up to

Peace Mo

Grinning

new melons sprouting

through red patches

on my green tank top

and yellow mesh shirt,

Screw You Copper!

Read an Interview with the author Debra Providence.

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