We judge people based on their sex, their creed, their chosen profession, or even the friendships they keep. And of course, women are more harshly judged; especially among other women. Our standards of what we believe to be beautiful, promising, or successful do not align to what men’s ideas are of being “that” woman; the ideal woman.
But then again, could we even draw “that” woman?
I wrote this poem thinking about what she’d look like and knowing that I can never draw her. Beauty is subjective. And ideals or views of perfection tend to change as we grow older, gain life experience, and are exposed to the different types of beauty in people.
As we become husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, our idea of beauty shifts to the character, wisdom, and personalities of our spouses and children. But wouldn’t it be great if we all looked at people like that before our identities change? What would the world look like if we sketched the character, the inner beauty and goodness in people at first glance? We would see terrible ugliness in some people, but we would also see beauty that we may have initially missed.
Sketch me as a woman
With slender limbs,
Wide hips, a small waist,
And breasts to your liking.
Color me an olive hue
With light blonde hair,
Full lips and bright blue eyes.
Dress me up as a lady
With a dress that hugs every curve.
Cover me in modesty,
But enough skin showing to warrant your lustful thoughts,
And greedy eyes to feast on every inch.
Now sketch me as a man,
With strength in my stance, and
Broad shoulders that can hold the weight of the world.
Color me any color that represents my masculinity;
Anything but pastels or light colored tones.
I don’t need you to dress me up as a man,
For whatever I wear takes on my character.
Now sketch your daughters.
Sketch your sons.
Color her ravishing, but innocent.
Color his strength, and not his arrogance.
Dress them up, as you want society to see them.
Are you picturing your daughter clothed in modesty?
Or painting her with power in her stance?
Or your son;
Must he be clothed like a predator,
but with the heart of lamb?
Now I’ll sketch me with my own eyes,
I am woman with wide hips
that carried and birthed my babies.
And these breasts that are used to nourish my children,
Can get big or small, depending on the time.
I color myself a light brown,
The color of coconut husks.
I dress whatever pleases me, and comforts me
And not for your lust, your pleasure, or for you.
When I trace my face,
You can see the laugh lines from my youth,
And lines that come with worry that only motherhood can give.
In my stance, I give you grace and strength,
Of being tied to my label as only a woman can.
We, who are daughters, wives, and mothers,
With spines of steel to take on any insult from both you, and our sisters.
Shoulders that bare the brunt of your world.
Hands that wipe tears, calm nerves, and
Work tirelessly to do it over again
These are powers in my femininity.
I give you a challenge to
Sketch me again.
Sketch me as a woman you already know.
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