Thursday, 9 March 2017

Mask


She cradles his soft innocence as he suckles at her breast, nurturing him.  All she feels is a deep unconditional love, an overwhelming love she never knew existed.  He is her world, the total sum of her.

As he grows he will be nurtured by his culture and he will turn against her.  She will become what she was and perhaps always will be, the nothingness of that that is woman.

You ask her of this and she softly replies:  It is my culture, it is who I am, it is all that I know.    Confronted, she returns the imaginary veil to her face blinding her vision, a veil that will mask her, mask who she is who she dreams to be, thus forever binding herself to her own fate.

But she will feel safe.

Anna :o[

Sumana at Poets United has us writing of (yesterdays) International Women’s Day whose campaign theme is:  Be Bold for Change.  Above is my offering of which I am uncertain as to whether it is poetry or prose or prose poetry.  I have difficulties with the concept of prose poetry…please see previous post.

In my lifetime I cannot recall any occasion I felt second class as in gender inequality.  But perhaps I am blind to the subtleties’ of it, perhaps I was gently and not deliberately conditioned into accepting a specific role, a role passed down in generations…I don’t know.  That said I do know that gender inequality exists.

In some cultures for a woman to express boldness for change would be tantamount to signing her own death warrant.  It is not right but that is the way it is, in these cultures women live in fear (of men).

Will International Women’s Day change a thing – probably not?  Things will carry on as they are.  From an IWD  page:

Some regions should expect to see their gender gaps narrow faster than the global rate of change. Among these are South Asia, with a projected closing of the gender gap in 46 years, Western Europe in 61 years, Latin America in 72 years and Sub-Saharan Africa, due to achieve parity in 79 years. Projections for other world regions suggest closing their gaps will take longer than 100 years, namely 129 years in the Middle East and North Africa, 146 years in East Asia and the Pacific, and 149 years in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Given the slow progress over the last decade, the gender gap in North America is expected to close in 158 years. None of these forecasts are foregone conclusions. Instead they reflect the current state of progress and serve as a call to action to policymakers and other stakeholders to accelerate gender equality.

 On a more cheerful note, please watch the video below, a video by the excellent Harry Enfield & Co.  Things have moved on for some of us, maybe not enough but one day that day might come…



Photo header image:  Courtesy of:  Wikimedia Commons

Author:  John Thomson (1837–1921) 


11 comments:

Susan said...

Haha! Just finished watching that video! What a delightful post this is in total, though your poem captures one of the more gruesome aspects of womanhood--choosing our own masks. It was women, too, who bound other women's feet in China For some it is a matter of survival, and another self lives in them. I've heard the one-gendered nature of structures like harem's and women's societies actually allow for a little freedom along with their reinforcement of social norms.

I love this: "She will become what she was and perhaps always will be, the nothingness of that that is woman." Irony.

rallentanda said...

Ha...just love this video.

As a white middle class educated woman I have known gender inequality and have been made to feel second class.It still exists but nothing to be compared to those uneducated suppressed women in the third world. Domestic violence against women is a serious problem in Australia and we are in need of a lot of changed attitudes towards women as well.

Sumana Roy said...

These are some hard unpalatable truths specially for countries where women are not economically independent. But discrimination against women still persists almost everywhere. A few days ago in one video I saw a leader (not of the third world) shouting why women should be paid less than men. Sigh.
Thanks for the video :D

Old Egg said...

The sadness of the video is that the humour will perpetuate that opinion in so many mens minds who continue to laugh at the persistent inequality of the sexes that exists in so many areas. We still have such a long way to go.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

I enjoyed this perspective on womanhood and it is true, there are those who would feel uncomfortable - or actually endangered - questioning their roles. Well written, Anna, and I think it is a wonderful prose poem.

annell said...

Since it is "men" that is the main reason women go to the hospital, we should all live in fear of men. Beautiful write.

Mary said...

This poem gives me a sad picture of this particular kind of womanhood...in which the one who nurtures the man-child is eventually the one that the man (no longer child) turns against. I never thought of things exactly this way before, but I think there are elements of this kind of attitude in both first world and third world. A thought provoking prose poem.

Myrna R. said...

Poetry brings out truth and that is what your prose poem does. I appreciated the seriousness of your post, but was left laughing at the end. Loved it.

Therisa's World said...

As a transwoman, I know, all too well, the dangers that all women must face, on a daily basis, with men. My worse abuser was my younger brother, who for years, would attack me, in all manners, but sexually, in making my life, a living Hell, for which, I still have PTSD flashbacks, even though, this August will a decade, since I last saw him. Wish, I could tell you, these crimes of power will end soon, but those, in power, loathe to give it up, to anyone, especially, to an underclass, like ourselves, women.

Samyuktha Jayaprakash said...


Hi! ,
I love the prose poetry style. I struggle with it too.
I love the veil metaphor. We as humans all wear masks and as women are encouraged to suppress
what we truly want to be. The gender gap is closing and widening in places as per context..

Cheers'

Nicholas V said...

A poignant and (unfortunately) too true a write, Anna. We who can, can speak up and be the agents of change even in those societies where the "culture" and "traditions" still keep women down at the level of animals...