13 Mar Ink Blots: Shrinking Women
by Kariza Montealegre
Hello, Cheer Readers! Welcome to Ink Blots, where I’ll be sharing with you poems – from classic to contemporary, published to performed pieces – every other Sunday.
This time, we are taking part in the celebration of women. Each day is a fight for women’s rights, and each day is a chance to honor women and their contributions to society.
Today, I’ll be sharing a spoken word poem I stumbled upon years ago and has stuck with me since. As a woman, it is easy to feel inferior. You doubt your body. You doubt your opinions. You doubt yourself. Body image and self image issues are not exclusive to women, but it can be said that these are two of the many challenges most girls struggle with at a young age. It’s like your anatomy has dictated your position in society, a marginalized one at that, which should not be the case.
Lily Myer’s “Shrinking Women” sends a commentary on various issues encountered by women. This piece, which she performed at the 2013 College Unions Poetry Slam, won Best Love Poem in the tournament. In three and a half minutes, Myers explains how men and women are socialized differently. Exploring matters like eating disorders and women’s low regard for themselves, “Shrinking Women” is a powerful piece that highlights the pressure women are subjected to. This pressure, reinforced by family and society, influences women’s perceptions on how much space they should occupy, whether it’s by their bodies or their voices.
“Inheritance is accidental,” Myers said. Let us not be shrinking women. Let us not be mothers who will teach their daughters to blindly accept what society dictates. Let us not be daughters who will eat less and speak less because our mothers did. Let us not be part of the system that causes women to shrink.
It’s not calories we must lose. It’s not men we need to make space for. It’s our low disregard for ourselves that we must let go, and it is self-respect and self-love that we must make space for. ☁