By Alessandra Rey
To exist as a woman and to be damned
by other females and indubitably the man,
On every scribbled scripture or record written
and to do or do not, have it be no winning.
On every poster emblazoned and turned page,
there it is again, the rock and the hard place.
A shredded soul and raw eyes from the inundated
apprised expectations and dictations.
The interminable tick and hours agonised
trying to keep up, only to be chastised, anyway.
Attempting to comply to unattainable demands
but nevertheless receive castigation and be damned.
A cyclone, a sinkhole of deleterious asphyxiation,
an enervating, unrelenting pendulum-swing without cessation.
To be too alluring or not alluring enough,
to be deemed frigid and cold or to be labelled a slut.
Merely doing nothing, nothing, nothing at all
warrants spiteful abuse she still could be called.
She’s not cut out for exhausting contradictions,
the piercing-cold or scorching-hot extreme definitions.
Libertine drool for the virgin or the vixen,
taking submission or omission as permission
to the forceful or threatening propositions.
The response to a no is a ricochet bullet of cruel crucifixion
and can be wrenched and twisted to a false and sinister depiction.
The infamous pervasion of the Madonna-Whore dichotomy,
She was begging for it when she decided not to dress modestly.
When nails dig into thighs or cause the skirt to rise, she will scream audibly
until her lungs are burnt and spat at for dishonesty.
Pursued and plagued and persevered after constantly,
but then to say yes appraises her of “lesser” quality.
Adulated chaste Mary is hunted after with callosity
but the uncouth and vulgar Jezebel is seen as a monstrosity.
Paradoxical paralysing blares are an overwhelming cacophony
rooted in sinister, inequitable, undeniable misogyny
manifesting itself as a twisted philosophy.
Adorned with eyes that glare, reproached that she is a distraction
that her appearance, her features are warranting attraction
the general consensus stating dissatisfaction, with her.
The green-eyed and bitter look upon her with dearth of compassion
and proceed to slash and spit, making her a beacon of detractions.
She cares too much for her appearance, she’s only there due to her face,
it’s justifiable therefore for them to chase or debase.
A contrary ponder is she’s attacked for neglecting rules of beauty,
an unsightly abhorrence who doesn’t know her duty
and thus a valid explanation to treat her cruelly.
Sincere smiles and kind words are misconstrued or deduced as fake
and can be viable reasoning for the feelings of contempt or hate.
Pulling her head up with string to have her words and thoughts spoken
but was broken down and lips sewed up, her voice was then stolen.
Excessively loud and dominate, she conformed to the muzzle
but was slapped by the “speak up” and was mystified by this puzzle.
She tried to mould like clay but was sodden like mud
and was drowned and fatigued by the merciless flood,
the stones that were thrown at her gave her no blood.
She tried to adhere but it was never enough
with the infinite list of restrictions and afflictions,
she yearned to give up.
A ruthless and unyielding barbed wire jump-rope
that kept the monkey dancing, kept her on her toes.
No middle ground allowed, multi-faceted doesn’t exist,
but it is an unforgiving, harsh audience that would insist and persist.
This little chamomile flower, backwards over in its bend
and still the field of grass had it condemned.
To do as they said or to say that she wouldn’t
was to be damned if she did or damned if she didn’t.
Featured artwork by the author