“Shrinking Women”

I’m not even sure how I came across this video but, after watching it, I’m in awe at this woman. Though it’s a poem– and a lengthy one at that– I think I managed to relate to it more than any poem I studied in GCSE English Literature.

Now, I don’t call myself a hardcore feminist. I enjoy films which have a “strong female lead”, and TV series like ALIAS. I don’t question the use of female spies disguising themselves as call girls though, and I don’t feel the need to judge someone for having plastic surgery– though, admittedly, I might question the quality.

But I am a girl.

The idea of women being equal to men is a strange idea sometimes, especially in this day and age. Personally, I want to become a headteacher or a vice chancellor; and I know full well that there’s a “glass ceiling” blocking my way. But I don’t forget the idea, I acknowledge it.

It adds to the challenge.

I’m not your “traditional” woman, I guess you could say. I have no idea how to cook and I dispise cleaning. I go to the gym because I enjoy working out, not because I want to look good to impress some guy. I’m sarcastic and I have a terrible habit of talking back, especially to my boss and lecturers. I wouldn’t know where to start when keeping track of calories, and my weight doesn’t concern me unless I can’t fit into my favourite pair of jeans– but that’s because I’m a poor student who can’t afford another pair of £60, perfect fitting jeans. Heels are beyond my ability.

People regularly say I’ll never be able to get married because I’ll never be a good housewife; and I have no problem with that.

But the thing which struck me about this video was the fact that she says we “inherit” these qualities. In the poem, she discusses becoming “smaller” in order to accomodate men in her life. Be quiet, to be weary of calories and to be a good woman; and she had “accidently” learned all of these qualities from her mother.

Me? Well, my mother had no problem being loud. She regularly argued with her neighbours and she’s had various boyfriends in the past 22 years, in fact she’s been engaged twice since divorcing my dad for a period of a decade and yet she’s in no rush to get married. She doesn’t drive, there’s no need because there’s a bus route to both of her jobs. My step dad cooks, while she gives us money for take aways or frozen pizza to cook.

So I definitely agree with Lily Myers, we do inherit our traits by watching our parents. So I guess I should be glad that my mum brought me up against the “traditional” role of a woman… Because, if she hadn’t, I’d probably be at home with two children now and zero motivation to break through that glass ceiling.

Which I will. One day.


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