According to the Merriam-Webster English Dictionary, the word “feminism” is not as wishy-washy as the culture of 21st century American life has made it out to be. It does not mean, as some alt-right activists (read: racist, misogynistic pigs) would have us believe, being a man-hating, hairy legged lesbian (although, it certainly can mean that and to all those hairy legged lesbians out there- I do not condone hatred toward anyone- I see you and I think you are amazing). It is not either, as an entry on Urban Dictionary states, “a pitiful reason for fat chicks to get on TV.” In fact… I’m not really even sure what that means. Most of all, it is not a philosophy, movement, ideology that advocates or believes in the superiority of women over men.
Rather, it is a philosophy, movement, ideology that believes that the fucking saddlebags of oppression have been weighing women down for far too long. It is a philosophy, movement, ideology built from the bones and dust and yes, the raging bloody rivers from inside the depths of all the glorious uteri. It is a philosophy, movement, ideology that acknowledges the forced silences of white women. It is a philosophy, movement, ideology that MUST learn to acknowledge the silences of black women, Asian women, Latina women, trans women, and all the women in between.
Since, as a white, straight woman, I cannot speak for all women, here are five wonderful slam poems that speak to the many different experiences of the women that make up this diverse country.
1. "9 Things I Would Like To Tell To Every Teenage Girl" by Melissa Newman-Evans
Favorite line: "The world is trying to kill you. It is trying to do this by stealing your voice... Kill it back."
2. "Ain't I A Woman" by Kai Davis
Favorite line: "Didn't a white girl closed-mouth smile at me today, tell me I'm beautiful then hack apart my body? Wear my lips, ass, and hair like a costume?"
3. "Maybe All Transgender People Are Really Vampires" by Chrysanthemum Tran
Favorite line: "Maybe I was born womb-less and wounded, born bloodthirsty for whatever would make me more woman."
4. "Unbuttoning My Boy Shirt" by Joy Young
Favorite line: "It is easy for eyes to read me in binary dress code. One zeroes in on my body and hair and clothes, how they clash expectation."
5. "The Bride" by Emi Mahmoud
Favorite line: "The first thing her mother taught her was how to wipe the tears before the blood dries. Shredded knees heal, but shame never fades away."
6. "#gamergate" by Elisa Chavez
Favorite line: "They treat me like so much public pixel and blame me for dressing in the only skin I get."
7. "10 Honest Thoughts On Being Loved By A Skinny Boy" by Rachel Wiley
Favorite line: "The phrase 'big girls need love too' can go die in a fire."
8. "Ode To My Bitch Face" by Olivia Gatwood
Favorite Line: "Bitch Face, I don't blame you for taking the iron pipe from their hands and branding yourself with it, for making a flag out of your body bag."
9. "To JK Rowling, From Cho Chang" by Rachel Rostad
Favorite line: "Thank you for giving me no heritage. Thank you for giving me a name as generic as a ninja costume."
10. "The Period Poem" by Dominique Christina
Favorite line: "Spill your impossible scripture all over the good furniture."
This month is women’s history month. That’s what we get, I guess. A month, to make up for all the histories we didn’t get to write. It isn’t perfect, but I suppose it’s a start.Here’s hoping they’ll get you pumped up to destroy the patriarchy and make your voice heard!
So, go forth, be feminists, and let your feminism be intersectional.