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By Malia Nahinu
A painful existence—
Spoken to us as children in anger
From protective mothers,
“DO NOT WALK ALONE AT NIGHT.”
Dresses and flowery bows in our hair;
Forced to wear pink,
I become aware;
Forced to sit with my legs closed,
I become aware;
Forced to do the dishes while my brothers work in the yard,
I become aware.
We do not change
Until we are destroyed;
A nuclear crisis.
Eyes that river within tiredness;
A heart that soaks in its own disease,
Sadness is our friend,
After so many years;
After so many years I say.
Satisfy the need of equality,
But don’t ever truly give us equality.
We are too dumb enough to even pay close enough attention;
Call the ones who do:
Call the public to see how she cares about herself.
Is she a feminist?
Or does she actually think about what she will wear that day?
She is too old;
Create a WNBA for the sake of saying “we care,”
And then laugh at the strength the female body can contain.
Trick the Woman to degrade her own body;
Empower the beautiful and the skinny,
The short shirts,
And makeup new body types to wish for;
Idolize the curves,
Be the curves,
Train for the curves,
But never be satisfied with your body the way it is;
Of famous women
Who cut and chop their faces up
In order to please
Cut the tape.
I’m tired of this mix.
Do not take responsibility for the millions of girls
Struggling with eating disorders and depression.
Tell them they are mental head cases
And feed them pills of shame to shut them up.
Hide in the bathroom and experience the glory of blood alone.
Be disgusted by your own body,
Tampons are humiliating;
A symbol of losing innocence,
A symbol of losing youth,
A symbol of growing up,
A symbol of becoming less desirable,
A symbol of disgrace.
I stand here and look at the world around me.
Proud of my single mother.
Proud of the many women who have sought to change the stigmas.
Yet, sadness lingers;
As I gaze at the ads and posters in the city of gold
Still feeding us the same imagery
Over and Over again,
Telling me I need to be this way
Or that way;
Telling me to walk a path of repetition—
Snapchat the historical American woman condition,
Telling us to stay submissive to makeup and hair extensions;
That our beauty is everything,
That older age is disgraceful,
That we will never be able to simply
Punish myself for fighting with stigmas;
Wanting beauty, but also intelligence;
Wanting my own thought process, but also to be accepted in culture;
Wanting success, but also authenticity;
Fight within myself for believing I am limited
How can I know I am infinite?
When my examples of power today
Are found in a compromised media;
Mixed and Auto-tuned into
Subliminal mind strewn
Shedding their clothing for likes and #reposts.
My right hand tells me to be focused on my attractiveness,
My left hand covers my left eye;
America the free—
Traps its victims in the idea that we are free;
A mental captivity.
Knowing that the mind is the power,
Knowing that the body responds to the mind,
Knowing that the masses of people watch television,
To escape the prison they are in
Only to be reintegrated again.
Listen to popular music:
Follow social media,
You are a robotic instrument,
In a new world encyclopedia.
A tree does not ask to be slaughtered,
But, sacrifices its long wings
That courage will leave its mark
In its paper.
The lands of the free
Knows how to program us all into these same circles
Of a penitentiary of segregation,
Can you not see?
There is never a right way to be a woman;
Because the “fight” is not over:
The “fight” is a trap,
Because the “fight” is a cerebral prison.
The vision of distraction
Is an escape;
Limiting the thought
To be in the eyes of Woman
Is to know that one
As a tree upon the earth
Breaking through a cemented barrier
In the midst of a freeway system,
Yearning to extend its limbs
To be connected to what is;
Jailed in by
Man made stigmas and roads
That lead to places
That can never be called a home.
To be the eyes of Woman
Is to see,
In a great array of human waste,
And to know
Breathes in redemption.
“Malia-Arrayah” Nahinu graduated from San Diego State University where she majored in Women’s Studies and double-minored in Religious Studies and Communications. She also played on the Women’s basketball team. Today, she is pursuing acting, writing creatively and modeling. Fun Fact: Malia is 6’5.