Respect.

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 03:55 -- Tanvi

Location

India
20° 35' 37.2624" N, 78° 57' 46.368" E

 

On my 14th birthday, pray, a long time ago
I stumbled upon a vicious dress.
I dissolved myself into it's black
The brown of my legs dancing above my knees
My sleeveless arms feeling the soft cloth, that grips my hips like a little girl
Afraid to lose her father's hand.

And suddenly from in between the gaps, my mother tells "Where is all your shame, young lady?"
As if my shame depends on the skin my body envelops within.

She stripped down the awful mark of disgrace
Shunned it away from my body
And the next thing she made me wear wasn't a mere cloth
It was disgust, disgust regarding my own body.

 

From there I began a life of lie
I was told to cover my insecurities like the gap between my thighs
And between my breasts , we're shoved secrets
That should never be disclosed, always hidden beneath the woven demands of society.

A piece of fabric, mother promised, was now my safety net
For now, my breasts were a danger to myself
For now, the shape of my hips were a hazard
For now, my legs were not a medium to walk
No, now they were an object for men to stalk.

I wasn't my own, this skin not my home
Because if it was , why, at the tender age of 14
Was I asked to grow weeds around it's walls, and suffocate my lungs to society's needs?

 

So for a long , long time
Victoria kept all my Secrets
Until one day I revived:

I was asked to cover up because others would look wrongly at me?
To hell with that bullshit, you can shield your own eyes if my curves bother you
If the bulge of my bosoms makes you uncomfortable
If me flaunting my thighs wakes up the 'culture' in your bones.

Don't look at this skin, this body of mine
Because when the sun shines bright
You simply turn away, you don't cover the skies

Because showing of my skin is anything but shameful, Maa
It is finding pride between these gifts you gave me.

Asking me to cover up because bare skin makes you a monster isn't a solution, boys
I am a woman, a life giver, a breath of this universe
No, I'm not your toy.

 

And mothers, oh mothers, all mothers like mine
Instead of painting your daughters with shame
Breed in the boys, the same boys you taught us to be afraid of,
Some respect, some humanity, some goddamned shame.

Because, mothers, the length of her skirt doesn't mark her dignity
And neither do long sleeves bear treasures of respect
Those a values you gift her with
The more you respect her,
The more she respects herself
The more society respects her
The more the world respects her
The more the universe respects her.

Yes, it's not a piece of clothing that gifts me respect, Maa, it's you.

This poem is about: 
Our world

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