Dear Standards of Society,
My entire life, I grew up being told to be more feminine.
To dress and act like a lady.
Keep your clothes modest, your legs shaved, and your mouth shut.
Follow this ideal and that one too.
If you don’t, you’ll never fulfil your purpose of finding a partner,
Having kids, and growing old in a small town,
Attending Friday night football games only to reflect on
How much you wish you could go back and take any other path
Than the one that led you to where you are now.
If I never conform, will anyone ever learn to love me?
Do people only ever fall in love with compliance?
Do people only fall in love with you if you meet society’s requirements?
Am I only worth the number of points I earn in the beauty pageant
Of who is the prettiest, most generous, most accommodating?
I am worth so much more than fake nails,
Neatly kept hair,
And clothes that only ever compliment my figure--
Even if they are clothes I do not like.
I am worth my not-so-cute-and-girly giggle.
I am worth my nowhere-near-society’s-standard-of-perfect figure.
I am worth my messy hair that never conforms to my commands.
I am worth all the times I have made myself laugh (which 90% of the time is the reason I laugh).
And most of all, I am worth a fortune.
Every girl deserves to feel that way about themselves too.
Every girl deserves to feel safe in their own sacred body.
And if my body doesn’t belong to me, it does not belong to anyone.
But to society, nothing seems to be sacred anymore.
Society tries to tell me that my body's a temple that only belongs to me
To hide behind an excuse so they can conquer my body.
My body is not a temple. Temples are invaded,
Decay over time, overrun by tourists that lack respect and knowledge
For all it has gone through.
My soul is the religion it was founded on.
Immortal, empowered, not of this world.
Our bodies will rot no matter what we do.
But it’s what is left behind is what we should be paying attention to.
Would you leave behind dead autumn leaves--
Warm and beautiful but still rotting, left to be trampled on?
Or would you leave a springfield--
Ethereal and bring joy to those who pick your remains for those they love?
But it seems all we ever pay attention to is brittle,
Flawless skin, silky hair, and autumn leaves
Only to be followed by a cold and unforgiving winter.
Nobody ever pays attention to how
High we hold our heads despite the world trying to keep us down
Or how we still support each other with the weight
Of your ego on our shoulders.
Women are empowering.
Women are the leaders of this generation.
Women are inviolable.
We refuse to cooperate with society’s unrealistic and discriminatory archetypes.
And no matter how many times I am called unspeakable names
Because I refuse to send a boy a picture of my sacred body,
Or how many times I am told to be more ladylike in hopes of getting a boyfriend,
Or how many times I am told that I need to cover two more inches of my legs
So my peers can focus--
We will never succumb to anyone else’s ideals but our own.
And don’t ever expect us to.