My Culture

I wish my culture would teach men to accept rejection.

To stop showing up drunk to parties
and grabbing the arms of frightened women who are too afraid to say no.

I wish it would teach them to put their penises between their tailbones
when they’re in a loving relationship
To stop blaming their infidelity on their “mandhood”
Coining words like “chel chelleh”, aka midlife crisis
and to treat a woman as a person who deserves respect.
And by respect I mean equality
Not the superficial, “woman on a pedestal”
“Pearl in the sea” type metaphor.

I wish it would teach women to love themselves for who they are
Instead of what they are. To stop catering to men’s desires and racking up
Skills fit for a wife and racking up skills fit for a life
A warrior who isn’t burdened by her choices
Who can be openly sexual in her nature instead of humiliated.
Who can be a freak in the streets and a lady in the sheets if she damn chooses to.

I want to be that woman who can stand up to her
 prehistoric parents and grandparents who
Still think arranged marriages are the key to a successful, happy life.
I want to choose who I want to be with
even if my partner’s not Iranian or Muslim
Even if he doesn’t speak my language….
to understand that he speaks more profoundly
and closely to my heart than any other soul has ever touched.

I wish my culture would grow the fuck up and stop blaming women for everything.
If her hair is too showy or her curves are too tightly displaced in her clothing
Or if she chooses to wear a color other than black and
God forbid, wear nail-polish more than 7 days a month.

I wish my culture would stop teaching ridiculous lessons like
Look up at the sky or down to the ground instead of making eye contact
God forbid a woman be bold in her life.
God forbid she express herself beyond the walls of confinement to her own house

I wish my culture would teach men
To own up to a 50-50 ratio in every aspect of raising a child
To know that their child will ultimately compare every aspect of reality to their parents.
To understand that an absent father makes for years of therapy and lack of self-love.

Even though I struggle with my identity, torn between two worlds of culture, an exile and feminist in the making, I know where I come from and I appreciate my roots

I just wish my story wasn’t so familiar, and passively accepted as reality.


This poem is about: 
My community
My country


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