Humans First

My mother asks me to cover myself
Because suddenly, my body turns indecent
And she doesn’t want me to seem provocative.
My friend accuses me of being ungrateful
For rejecting his advances
In spite of his courteous behavior,
Which suddenly demands repayment
And gives him an apparent claim over me.
My safety is questionable after sunset
And my only shield is my clothing,
“Decent” out of fear,
I thus helplessly depend on a chanced savior,
Without whom I must appeal to an animal’s conscience.
My dignity is lost as soon as the barrier
Of touch is broken, and I am blamed for being a woman.
My voice must not be heard,
I must grovel in the dust if I have the audacity
To utter a syllable and protest against my silence,
For it is unthinkable for a woman-
Weak and neglected- to have an opinion.
You, in the contrary, are shamed for deeds
Which others of your gender have committed.
God forbid, you shed a tear or display emotion!
No, it is unacceptable for a man,
So strong and commanding,
To do something as ‘weak’ as crying,
It is a fact, men don’t (shouldn’t) cry.
Your masculinity is your superiority
Your strength lies in oppression
Of emotions, women and all things ‘cowardly’ and ‘weak’.
You lose the right of refusal, it is taken for granted
That a man is insatiable and will always comply.
You must endure pains and hardships in silence,
It is unheard of, for a man to be defeated.
You must be aggressive and ignore your heart,
You dare not be compassionate.
And you can only inflict harm,
Violence against you shall not be recognized.
There my friend, is where our similarities lay.
We are humans, both capable of evil,
Both suppressed in various ways.
We are caged and in pain,
Never to achieve freedom until we accept
Our differences with respect and dignity
And support our similarities.
We are humans first, genders later.

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