Kaileigh’s Senior Thesis Poem

They want me to be pretty

To be blonde

To have perfect skin

To have a tiny waist

To have a big butt

To have boobs to match

To have a feminine voice

To have hairless legs

To be a good cook

To stay quiet

To speak only when spoken to

To be dainty

To take up less space

To be a woman in the correct way

The way they want me to be

The way they want me to look

The way they want me to act

The way they want me to exist


Trained to apologize

Used to getting talked over

That great idea they just had? 

I brought up the same thing five minutes ago

Wondering if I’m good enough for them

Rather than good enough for myself

I’m smart

But I’m not allowed to be smarter than them

I can talk

But not louder than them 

They don’t care about the ways I express myself 

Unless it satisfies them

Everything I do

Is policed by them

I start to question my abilities

My ideas

My thoughts

My emotions

My reactions

My existence

Just because a man said he didn’t like it

His gaze

The male gaze

Creeps in

Takes over

Demands that I obey

Do what they say

Follow them and I will be free

Like some kind of unfulfilling religion 

My bad

I didn’t realize they were in charge of me

But I should’ve known

It’s always been like this

Probably always will be

It’s not my fault I have too small of a brain to understand them

Oh I know

It’s because I’m a girl

And girls just aren’t as smart 

At least that’s what they tell me

Photo by Nate Neelson on Unsplash