you shouldn’t take nudes because they will be leaked
and you will be to blame
you shouldn’t own a car because it’ll get stolen and it’ll be your fault
you shouldn’t swim, you’ll drown
you shouldn’t eat, you’ll choke
you shouldn’t have an epi-pen because if you have an allergic reaction, isn’t it sort of your fault? you put yourself in that situation
you shouldn’t exist as a woman because your body always takes the blame
your rape is your fault
your nonconsensual sexualization is your fault
being murdered by your spouse is your fault
being murdered by your parents as an infant is your fault
because you put yourself in that situation by being born female
your anatomy and identity are a dare
your womanhood is a dangerous alley late at night
your womanhood is too many drinks at frat party
your womanhood is a skimpy dress, a lack of mace, going to the bathroom without a friend
your womanhood is a constant state of uneasiness
your womanhood is a fucking statistic
your womanhood is a news story
you should not take nudes because they will be leaked
and no one will feel bad
When we are girls,
they hand us dolls and say
“Be like this.”
We grow up holding glassy eyed fantasies
Taught early on that we will never be as perfect as what we are asked to be.
When we are no longer girls,
but not yet women,
they hand us razors and say
“Run these across your skin.”
We learn that our bodies are intrinsically wrong
And when we tear ourselves open trying to scrape away the inadequacy they’ve forced on us
They act shocked.
When we are women,
they hand us shame and say
“Here. This is yours to carry.”
So we drape it around our necks
like a scarf
And the furious proclamations that rise in our throats
stay trapped just below our tongues.
But I am not made of porcelain.
Take your dolls back.
I am not yours to shatter.
I will take the razors that they handed me and use them
to tear the shame from my neck
because I’ll be damned if
I will be part of the generation that hands my girls
“Be like this.”
They will grow up seeing that they do not have to bend,
that if someone tries to break them they will not do so silently.
The generation that teaches our girls
that they were made to withstand storms,
and that they are no one’s to hold.