Friday, January 17, 2014

Put down whatever you're doing right now and watch this

"Shrinking Women," by Lily Myers at the 2013 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. The poem was awarded Best Love Poem at the tournament. 

There are so many great things going on in Myers' poem. She discusses society's expectation that women be thin throughout their entire lives, while men can get as jolly and fat as they'd like once they reach a certain age. 

This poem brings to mind the blog, Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train. In the blog, people take pictures of men sprawling out on subways, trains, etc., taking up way more space than women, who often sit with their legs crossed and hands in their laps. The blog aims to expose the fact that women are always trying to take up as little space as possible (whether that's by their weight or just the way that they're sitting) while men are encouraged to take up as much space as they'd like.

Myers' poem focuses a lot more on the fact that women are expected to be thin, yet body placement is another important topic to bring up when discussing gender norms.

Let me know what you all think of this video. Are you one of those people snapping along as she performs? I sure am!

Check out more of Myers' work at: She's pretty awesome.

This cat should be featured in "Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train." But he's so adorable, so we'll let it pass :-P

~ Corinne

1 comment:

  1. As a feminist, parent of a 25 year old and designer/facilitator of intergenerational programs, Myers’ poem impressed me on multiple levels. The depth of self-awareness is something I have come to expect from feminist young women today, who are so well versed on the tenets of first, second and third wave feminism. It is her insight into her family dynamics and the intergenerational connections she makes which elevate her discussion into the realm of gender politics, as you, dear Feline, so astutely point out. What is more personal than the ownership of our bodies and more political than the public space we claim in our placement of those bodies?

    The very insidious nature of gender politics is laid bare by Myers’ explication of her female family members’ unwitting collusion with the repressive practices of the patriarchy, which she sees clearly contrasted by the behavior of her male family members. Then she goes further, she takes personal responsibility. She illustrates the destructive nature of this unwitting collusion in her depiction of her classroom behavior.

    What gives Myers’ poem the power to go viral is the resonance of the imagery she chooses to make her point: the family dinner table, the kitchen, the classroom. We have all experienced these scenarios, but few of us make the overarching political connections as we go about our daily lives. Myers gives us a wake up call to bring our hard-earned self-awareness to the forefront of our consciousness. I, for one, am grateful to her.