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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Feminist Poems With Year 8

I am Poet in Residence at a girls' secondary school. In Year 8 they have been learning about feminism, and I recently worked with some of the classes to create poetry around this theme. I was conscious not to 'mansplain' to them, or to go over the shoulds-and-shouldn'ts of the issue; instead, I was keen to discuss what feminism meant to them. Using this wonderful poem by Sojourner Truth as inspiration, students wrote their own poems. Here are a couple of interesting examples from the students I worked with:

I Can by Haleema
Be a famous mathematician,
With lots of awards.
Have a huge house and
work as a fireman.
I can
Be a scientist and dissect
animals and creatures.
Be a professional footballer
and play for famous clubs.
I can
Wear green and blue
tops with tracksuit bottoms.
Go fighting for my country
and put my life at risk.
I can
go to work as a plumber
whilst men stay at home and clean.
Get a degree in English
and move to a new city on my own.
I can.

Poem by Maryam

When I was a baby
It was all about cuteness
It was all about protection
It was all about me.
No one else but me.

Five years old and five times more strictness.
It was all about being careful,
Making sure I don’t bang into something.
It was all about learning how to write.
I could do it and I was only a little girl.

It came to a point when
I could do what I believed was called “anything”
I could dress how I wanted to
I could play whatever I wanted to
I could do “anything”.

Now it was a time
A time where I had to be extra careful
Outside in the REAL world
Whenever I could actually go out
I would always be with someone
Making sure nothing bad happens.

I am a girl.
I’m strong
I’m confident
I can take care of myself
I don’t need this whole overprotection thing
This thing when my parents would always be there
All the time.

Boys aren’t everything!

Image result for sojourner truth
Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)

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