Sadly, women throughout the world continue to experience the negative consequences of male privilege. We still suffer injustices, including less pay on the dollar than men, the charge to meet certain standards of beauty and consistent sexual assault.
I want to honor the women who are subjected to physical, mental and emotional violence both inside and outside the United States.
I wrote the poem below years ago to talk about that injustice in hopes of encouraging both men and women to see the reality of our history and how gender inequality still exists today. Enjoy.
If love takes the body as its book,
What does this living corpse mean to me
When he inscribes into brown breasts, “Look,
Here’s Inherent Rapability!”?
He sees solely what he wants to read--
An Eden, an Eve, and loving trees
Open to his writing serpentine
Seduction upon our still blank leaves.
He condemns us to wear masks of verse--
Faces created in fantasies
Of housewives, whores, and Miss Universe,
Who parade across his stage unfree,
Then stop, stand upon the auction block,
Knowing it is not enough to think
Of Jacobs’ defying locks. Like her,
We can rewrite ourselves,
Re-seize our bodies’ natural poetry,
From his claims of Manifest Destiny.
Copyright 2013 Xiomara Andrea Maldonado
In my own poem, I mention that Harriet Jacobs worked to rewrite her destiny as well as that of others.
I hope we can all follow in Jacobs' footsteps of promoting social justice through the arts, through politics, through the education of our children and in the way we live our daily lives.
How do you see gender inequality affecting your life?
Do you have hope for change?