Poetry: Gender and Feminism

CONENT WARNING: This is a sensitive topic and there are mild references to gender-based violence.

Scary How It All Comes Right Around

by Gemma Murphy

We teach our daughters that to be cruel is to be kind 

Being pushed over and taunted is fine 

It just means that he likes you, it’s their way of flirting  

Sweetie, it doesn’t matter if it is hurting 

So let him give you a playful shove  

Let the red from your blood become associated with love 

Isn’t it romantic? 

Bruises for your birthday 

Broken bones for Christmas  

push is a hug.  

slap is a kiss.  

kick is a cuddle. 

Don’t we make such a cute couple?  

I know he loves me when he screams  

Cause if he likes you, he’ll treat you mean  

At least that’s what mummy taught me. 

He’ll make you feel worthless  

And that won’t even hurt less 

When your brain’s black and blue  

And your emotions are battered

Sweetie, you should be flattered 

You now fear the touch you used to crave  

Isn’t it such a bloody shame?  

This all started with skint knees in the playground. 

Femininity and The Eyes of A Voyeur

by Ira Lapina

my hair has grown long for him

my body has been fitted for his arms

my lips are red for his desire

the temple of my body

has been designed so he can linger in

and take what he wants

and what he needs

my temple was made

so he can look 

he can judge

it is for his eyes and

i seek his approval

then, i go the opposite

my hair has been cut short

my body, a lot more curvaceous 

my lips are puckered, with tinges of pink

the temple of my body

has been designed to look different

however, it is still looked on

and i want his eyes to linger in

because it is different from the last

i seek his approval

because it does not cater to his fantasies

and then i realise

that the whole construct of my femininity 

is in the eyes of his gaze

of his fantasy

my dreams, aspirations, hope

were all made for this fantasy

even going against it is a mere fantasy

then, all i have 

are tools for me to use

and give to him

there is nothing for me

but maybe, even if it is from their gaze

i can also look at my creation

the temple that i have built

he will linger in

but i am the one who lives in it

to men, whatever i do will be an act

but if i were to perform for myself

even if they are the audience

the fact that i, too, am enjoying what i’m doing

is a step away

from the effervescent gaze of men

and a step into the gaze of my own conscious

Man Killed Mother

by Gregor Stratford

We imagined permanence, 

while Mother knew change. 

She adopted her cycle, 

our ignorance innate. 

We lost our reverence, 

gave Mother mange, 

broke her cycle, 

sealed our fate. 

Blind to consequence, alas 

we coveted the final straw. 

Burdening her fragile sky, 

Nature became contrived. 

Apes and their fatal gas 

assured the endless thaw. 

We were always set to die. 

Mother could have lived.