Because all women will be subject to sexual harassment at least once in their lifetime.
Because I became one of these women before age 13.

Because I never had to question what I was capable of
Until people started telling me of self-expression
What would drive men away.
This is one of them.

Because I have to be grateful to have a father with good intentions
Even when I had a teacher who didn’t.
I still have nightmares.

Because I was always taught to be cautious
Before he was taught to respect me
And no matter how loud I scream,
People will always question me.

Because “America” is the sea of blue with white stars in my eyes
The red liquid in my veins that keep me breathing
And the white stripes of my ribcage
That encase my heart
The way this country is supposed to protect me.

But even as a picture-perfect “American dream” cutie
I was born with less freedom
Less strength
Less representation
Than those around me.

Because I am NOT a bitch for saying these things
And if the men in my life were so tough
Then why should they be threatened by an independent woman
Who works twice as hard
For less?

Because despite all of the expectations and ideals
Forced upon me
I am not broken.

Because no matter how intelligent I am
Or how much knowledge I seek
I am not it to do the job,
For fear that I’d think with my heart
Instead of my head.

Because they’re afraid to think with their hearts
And feel something
That would force them to face what they’ve done to us.

Because when people look at me
They see my gender
And call me “woman”
Instead of my name.

Because my body is not a temple,
But a garden for life-bringing and looking pretty,
Always being handled and plucked at.

Because before I open my mouth
Someone is there to tell me I’m wrong
And I’ve been conditioned to be ashamed of the skin I’m in.

And because men won’t take me seriously
Claiming “not all men are like this,”
Though they forget that
When I speak
I voice the hardships of millions of women
That aren’t nearly as fortunate as I am.
They were lost to the misogyny,
The standards,
The objectification.
No, not all men are like this.
But yes, all women have felt it.



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