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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex in Media: Books, Magazines, Films, TV & More » An very interesting poem.

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Author Topic: An very interesting poem.
Animica
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I don't know if this belongs here, but I wanted to share this poem I read recently (on one of the links posted by Krampus, a Scarleteen member, so thanks to her [Smile] ).

quote:

What Are Big Girls Made Of?

The construction of a woman:
a woman is not made of flesh
of bone and sinew
belly and breasts, elbows and liver and toe.
She is manufactured like a sports sedan.
She is retooled, refitted and redesigned
every decade.
Cecile had been seduction itself in college.
She wriggled through bars like a satin eel,
her hips and *** promising, her mouth pursed
in the dark red lipstick of desire.

She visited in '68 still wearing skirts
tight to the knees, dark red lipstick,
while I danced through Manhattan in mini skirt,
lipstick pale as apricot milk,
hair loose as a horse's mane. Oh dear,
I thought in my superiority of the moment,
whatever has happened to poor Cecile?
She was out of fashion, out of the game,
disqualified, disdained, dis-
membered from the club of desire.

Look at pictures in French fashion
magazines of the 18th century:
century of the ultimate lady
fantasy wrought of silk and corseting.
Paniers bring her hips out three feet
each way, while the waist is pinched
and the belly flattened under wood.
The breasts are stuffed up and out
offered like apples in a bowl.
The tiny foot is encased in a slipper
never meant for walking.
On top is a grandiose headache:
hair like a museum piece, daily
ornamented with ribbons, vases,
grottoes, mountains, frigates in full
sail, balloons, baboons, the fancy
of a hairdresser turned loose.
The hats were rococo wedding cakes
that would dim the Las Vegas strip.
Here is a woman forced into shape
rigid exoskeleton torturing flesh:
a woman made of pain.

How superior we are now: see the modern woman
thin as a blade of scissors.
She runs on a treadmill every morning,
fits herself into machines of weights
and pulleys to heave and grunt,
an image in her mind she can never
approximate, a body of rosy
glass that never wrinkles,
never grows, never fades. She
sits at the table closing her eyes to food
hungry, always hungry:
a woman made of pain.

A cat or dog approaches another,
they sniff noses. They sniff asses.
They bristle or lick. They fall
in love as often as we do,
as passionately. But they fall
in love or lust with furry flesh,
not hoop skirts or push up bras
rib removal or liposuction.
It is not for male or female dogs
that poodles are clipped
to topiary hedges.

If only we could like each other raw.
If only we could love ourselves
like healthy babies burbling in our arms.
If only we were not programmed and reprogrammed
to need what is sold us.
Why should we want to live inside ads?
Why should we want to scourge our softness
to straight lines like a Mondrian painting?
Why should we punish each other with scorn
as if to have a large a**
were worse than being greedy or mean?

When will women not be compelled
to view their bodies as science projects,
gardens to be weeded,
dogs to be trained?
When will a woman cease
to be made of pain?

Marge Piercy



[ 07-03-2010, 05:24 PM: Message edited by: I.am.a.person ]

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Cloverdance
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"If only we could like each other raw."

I love that line! Thank you for sharing this!

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Heather
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Marge Piercy has been one of my favorite writers and poets since high school. [Smile]

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Animica
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Glad to share. [Big Grin]

When I read this poem, I just loved it. There are just so many things I could say about it. Each stanza has a powerful message, I can't choose a favorite one. "Wom(e)n made of pain"...it's just sad that this is true for many of us. We live based on appearances, trying to fit a mold to become the type of women the media portrays as ideal. It's sad that many of us suffer because there's this "image in (our) mind (we) can never approximate", an image that doesn't let us accept ourselves as the unique and beautiful people we are.

I'll definitely be reading more of Marge Piercy's poems. [Smile]

[ 07-04-2010, 10:06 PM: Message edited by: I.am.a.person ]

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Jill2000Plus
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"Why should we punish each other with scorn
as if to have a large a**
were worse than being greedy or mean"

Um, I have a large butt at least in part because I eat a lot, a lot of people probably would say I'm greedy, but I don't think that eating a lot makes me bad.

I think it's got a good message, mostly but NEWSFLASH: Not everyone thinks the main goal of their life should be not to eat more food than they need to be healthy. I would kind of like to eat more healthily than I do, but if I do it will be for me: to prolong my life span, to be able to walk/run further/faster, to avoid putting too much weight on my joints, etc. It will absolutely not be because I think that eating lots of food is a moral failing, and I don't feel bad about enjoying the taste of sugar and fat. I realise the author might have meant greedy in a non-eating related sense, but still, it's weird to hear that in a poem about how it's not wrong to be fat.

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treetops
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Hmm, I read it as greedy in the sense of overvaluing money or possessions rather than anything else.

I like the poem; I think it could raise some interesting questions about gender, though.

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mma
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Depends on where the author's from (or in this case, where the reader's from too!). In the US, nobody says "greedy" and means someone who eats a lot. It only pertains to "money-grubbing." And then, in the US, "mean" means unkind and hurtful, whereas, at least in parts of the UK, it means "cheapskate."

The really neat thing is that you can read it two different ways and it completely changes the meaning.

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Animica
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Agreed.

When I read the word "greedy", I thought "greedy" as in wanting a lot for oneself, be it money, or power. Relating it to food never crossed my mind, actually. I don't think I've ever used "greedy" that way, but it's actually very interesting to know it could mean different things to different people.

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Heather
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Gotta say, being very familiar with Piercy's work and her feminism over decades, I feel very confident saying she was NOT making judgments about people eating too much food. That would be very much in conflict with a lot of what she has said and written in her books and her poetry.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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