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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