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.

Feature image credits: Pinterest

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