Putting your own thoughts into words is not easy. And sometimes no matter how badly we want to say what we mean, we simply cannot do it justice in the way we communicate. We turn to others to say what we cannot-- instagram posts and sad movie quotes are our means of speaking. Slam poems are often far more powerful than simply reading a poem, especially ones that touch on subjects many are afraid to speak about. So those who can communicate what they are thinking-- who can say what many of us are afraid to-- deserve to be appreciated and listened to.
1. "Shrinking Women" by Lily Myers
This slam encompasses exactly how certain habits that are passed down from generation to generation are not always healthy. Specifically she mentions how women in her family and around her have learned to make themselves smaller so as not to impose on the egos of the men they associate with. She hits on the struggle of trying to be yourself while not being "too much" and becoming "too big" for your own good by using food as a perfect analogy.
2. "When the Fat Girl Gets Skinny" by Blythe Baird
Blythe Baird uses this poem to discuss her personal struggle with her eating disorder as well as the misconceptions about eating disorders in general. Her blunt observation of how you are not considered sick if you do not look sick applies to not only eating disorders but all mental illnesses. Her use of spurts of dry comedy have serve to further exemplify the seriousness of what she is expressing. If you have struggled with your body image at all, or any mental illness really, Baird's words will hit home and express exactly how you feel.
3. "The Type" by Sarah Kay
This is perhaps one of the most empowering poems I have ever heard. In the age of feminism, we are told that we should open our own doors and hold ourselves up, but Kay explains that it is okay if you want to let a man open a door for you-- it does not make you less of woman. She is telling us that you can let a man have you completely, but do not lose yourself in the process. Her pure and honest take on what it means to be loved encourages women to let a man have them, but always keep a part for themselves.
4. "Say No" by Olivia Gatwood and Megan Falley
Hitting on how a situation can misconceived from an outside point of view, Gatwood and Falley have written a powerful poem that cannot be ignored. Their raw take on what is expected from women is heartbreaking and empowering all at once. They speak of the cruelness that comes with saying no when you are expected to say yes. This slam needs to be seen by all women because they need to know that they have the option of saying "no" no matter what the situation is or what is expected of them.
5. "When a Boy Tells You He Loves You" by Edwin Bodney
"I love you" is often thrown around without as much meaning as it should have. We tell people "sorry, I love you" and when we mess up we tell people that we love them. Bodney describes how boys use "I love you" when they mess up or to get what they want. He explains how sometimes they do not really mean it and that we should be more careful with our hearts. His blunt take on the emptiness behind the words is raw and thought-provoking.
6. "Rape Joke" by Belissa Escobedo and Rhiannon McGavin
This poem says everything many people are terrified to say. Rape jokes are made constantly, by both men and women, and despite their inappropriateness, we laugh because what else are we supposed to do? They hit on the fact that we should not be preventing how people act towards rape victims but rather be preventing rape. They entwine the dense meaning of their slam with humor in an ironic take on the fact that humor is used to cover up the topic of rape.
7. "Exes" by Jessica Romoff and Mila Cuda
A poem that I'm sure many have seen pieces of on instagram, "Exes" discusses teen relationships that are all consuming and toxic. They hit on how guilt is often used by one person to get the other to do what they want. While constant texting and concern about where one is can seem like love, it is often controlling and a means of cutting one off from other people. We are often taught that love can be shown in ways other than words, but we have not been told what love is not. This poem says what everyone needs to hear.
8. Bonus-- Halsey's Speech at the 2018 NYC Women's March
This is not exactly a slam poem, but it is still something every woman should hear. Unlike some of the other poems, this one has no hidden meanings. Halsey says everything in a blunt manner. Her words are simple yet her message is deep. This speech speaks entirely for itself, and every woman will get something out of listening to it.