how to be a woman - for myself


i was born into a world of

glitter and pink

barbie dolls and baby dolls

and men who would call you pet names

without bothering to raise their line of vision

even a foot north of your chest

i was born into a world where

concepts of "womanhood"

were equated with being

something to look at

with being silent

i was born into a world where

i was told to be grateful

for the way men whistled at me

making obscene comments and gestures

degrading me from person to object

something to be desired

not someone to respect

i was taught to walk the short distance

through the parking lot with the car keys

held between my fingers as an ever-ready weapon

in case i needed to gauge an attacker's eyes out

i was encouraged to carry pepper spray

taught ways to identify a rapist

but never ways to trust a lover

or how to react to subtle misogyny

i was born into a world where

"feminist" is just as offensive as "cunt"

and your looks were equated with your worth

god forbid you were


well educated


god forbid you were anything but




i write this poem in the past tense

not because none of these things exist in my present

i see hate and ignorance as often as i see neutral colored cars

but i write in the hope that one day

i can look back

and be grateful for how much things have changed.

i was born into a world

where i am lesser just because i was born with a vagina

but i was also born into a world that

is not immune to change.


Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741