I am happy to celebrate the accomplishments of fabulous women, such as Maya Angelou, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Georgia O'Keeffe and Gloria Steinem.
At the same time, however, I want us to remember the fact women still have a long way to go before enjoying gender equality.
Male privilege is very real in society as a whole.
It is present in the workplace--men receive higher pay than women; it is present in daily life--men often receive greater respect than women; and it is present in interpersonal relationships--men are more likely to be considered the head of household than a woman is.
This last form of gender inequality is the one that Incubus, the poem below focuses on.
My former boyfriend held my fighting fingers back that day
as he ran his buzzer through my black forest.
The soft hair fell like ash, floating down
from the temple between my thighs and dropping
onto the dusty steps in my apartment building;
yet, trimming was not enough of a sacrifice
for him, so I sat in the bathtub, slicing
away the uneven remnants of my Eden,
now a child’s garden, or a scalped peach.
Your coochie’s as smooth as a baby’s bottom,
He said, touching me. I’m going to eat you.
In my womanhood’s white coffin, I sat, crying
over my burning vagina’s new name,
its desert gleaming with water like the tears
that coat my cheeks when night falls,
and I’m twelve again, fearing vampires.
Copyright 2013 Xiomara Andrea Maldonado
Unfortunately, sexual violence between people in a relationship is far less likely to be recognized as such.
I wrote Incubus to detail the challenges young women face in relationships when they feel forced to sexually perform in ways that please their partners and are pressured to change their appearance to meet rigorous standards of beauty.
I hope that it inspires adults to teach young ones, both male and female, to recognize and address issues of gender inequality, starting with their own relationships.
What's your take on gender inequality in the United States?