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Tuesday, 2 May 2017


I work at a girls' secondary school, where I recently led a workshop looking at gender, feminism and inequality. After looking at the life and work of Sojourner Truth, a pioneer in abolitionism and women's rights activism, the students wrote their own poetry examining their own identity. I'd delighted and proud to share some wonderful poems produced by the students:

Poem by Elaynath

Low expectations
Bad opinions
Bad reputations
You aren’t allowed
To meet their high expectations

Be modest
Be kind
You don’t need to know how to drive
Because you can wait for your husband
To take you out on a ride

To the shop you go
Buy make up
Buy clothes

Don’t get a job
Just learn how to mop
Let him control you
While he happily makes a fortune

Let him enjoy
You’re just his toy
You’re not allowed his kinda life
Because you aren’t a boy

Trapped by Elisha

As the wind hits my cheeks
I stare at the boys outside.
I stand there watching my friends get beaten up
by the men that brought us here,
but I can’t help,
because I’m trapped.

They think they are better and wiser.
They think they know what the future holds for me,
but they don’t.
They are as dumb as a dog.
They have no heart, no mind.
But I can’t do anything,
because I’m trapped.

I wish I had a family.
I wish I had a place to call home.
I wish I was standing in school
breathing in the fresh air with my friends
by my side.
But I have no tongue,
I can’t say a word,
because I’m a refugee.

The Difference Between Boys and Girls by Leotie

They wake up each morning, they’re natural.
No make up, no hairspray, no product at all.
Straight to the bathroom to freshen up.
They’re out of concealer so they’re out of luck.
They worry ‘bout spots and scars all day,
Wondering what everyone else will say.
To be a girl in this world,
There’s a big price to pay.

They wake up each morning with no care in the world.
Not insecure, don’t even care about girls.
Mess up their hair,
Walk out the door.
Throw on some clothes, they don’t care anymore.
No more feelings,
Bottle it up, nothing to say.
To be a boy in this world,
There’s a big price to pay. 

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