F.E.M.I.N.I.S.M: A poem

On Friday, July 28th Summer College hosted its second annual Talent Show. From martial arts to piano, Summer College students got to show off their special talents. One of the outstanding acts of the night was a spoken word poetry performance by Brandi N. Martin. You can read her brilliant acrostic poem below:

F.E.M.I.N.I.S.M.

A poem by Brandi N. Martin

F. Fear. I hasten my step as I walk along the dimly lit street, only allowing myself to breathe when bathed in temporary safety by the widely dispersed street-lamps, the second of refuge before I’m subject to the men lurking in the darkness once again. Maybe the fear of walking from my workplace to my home sprung from the summer I turned 13, the dry and heavy day I laughed with my friends, unaware of why their eyes dulled a bit every time a desperate man honked his horn at us. I feel the same weariness, the same hopelessness I felt all of those years ago. I just want to walk down the street knowing I’ll make it alive.

E. Everywhere I look I’m not enough. Smoother, silkier, softer. Make her lose her edge. I watched my best friend fight with the thing that was meant to protect her, meant to keep her safe. Food became her enemy, modeling companies her propaganda, her body the battleground, made to be punished, but through it all he never looked her way. She forgot what she was, what she meant, like so many others.

M. Money isn’t happiness, but it’s the driving force of our lives. Money speaks in ways that hurt us more than the most venomous words. My work is worth less not because of my effort or my ethic but because of who I was born as, because those that have always run the world can’t imagine being treated as an equal.

I. It was my fault-or that’s what they say. If I had drunk less, or stayed home, it still would’ve happened, it just would’ve been the other girl. So maybe we should stop teaching girls to live in fear, and tell the rapists they won’t get away with it. Start telling the world that we will not tolerate sexual assault, that everyone deserves to be secure in their bodies, regardless of what’s adorning them.

N. Normal. A concept I’ve craved since the first time he hit me, when it had felt like the only time, an instant regret, but the bruises that just kept adding up spoke of emotions foreign from love. I suppose when his father pushed him around for not being a real man, a part of him saw violence as the only way he could get the attention he craved, but “boys will be boys” doesn’t cut it, and girls shouldn’t be taught that violence is a sign of romantic interest. Stop letting these excuses go-save your children from the cycle nobody wins in. Because it’s already too late for some.

I. I do. Not from my own volition, from love or happiness, but because I am merely the property passed from my father to my new husband. And I can never change it. I. I don’t need feminism. Because the sphere of my personal experiences must be an accurate representation of the struggles faced by women globally, and there’s no need for me to simply research and see that in developing worlds, 1 in 9 girls will be married before the age of 15, or that child brides are twice as likely to experience domestic abuse. You must learn to carry the weight of every other woman’s struggles, and we must learn to rid ourselves of this weight together.

S. Stupid. Vain. Weak. How could we compare, next to intelligent, powerful, strong? Because when a woman is capable, she is an exception, but she must keep her self-confidence repressed, because vanity is not beautiful. Despite the acts of defiance started and propelled by women, we are seen as weak, in the face of glaring ignorance.

M. Misrepresentation. Everywhere I go, insults, and stereotypes, and standards bombard me, because power-hungry men can’t stand to lose the superiority they spent so long meticulously establishing, by beating down generations of women until the flame just grew brighter. But enjoy your power while you can, because I have news for you. Your portrayal of us means nothing. Your underestimations of our power won’t stop us from rising up, your invalidations only fuel our drive, and you can’t hold us back any longer. Power to the rape survivors, the eating disorder survivors, the domestic abuse survivors, the child bride survivors. Power to those that didn’t survive. Power to the women.