poetry

Me First: A Manifesto for the New Feminine. {spoken word poetry}

 

Society has long been in the business of telling women how to properly exist.

What began as overt social instruction turned to convert indoctrination by way of modern advertising, just as women were beginning to push back on the oppressive patriarchal hand.

It was 1920 when women in the United States gained the right to vote, and it was the same year that the industry now known as Public Relations was created by Edward Bernays, Sigmund Freud’s nephew, using his uncle’s studies of the human psyche.

Since then, corporations and politicians have been setting up rent-free real estate in the minds of women via messaging campaigns designed to capitalize on the way we think and feel. Our attention has been divided up and sold to companies, and in turn, our self-image has been externalized and sold back to us as idealized versions, available for purchase.

In other words, industries invent problems for us to worry about, only to offer us solution after solution, for a price.

The result is a world with a very vested interest in laying claim to the female body, the female experience and female choices. This consumerist machine has separated women from their inherent sense of ownership over self, and sold them back wonky images of themselves that they should aspire to, but coincidentally, never seem to be able to fully achieve.

Thanks to the media, we’re used to the limited versions of female we’re allowed to embody: the Scattered, Martyred Mother, and the Pre-Pubescent Sex Object. Now, in the wake of the commercialized female empowerment trend, we’re getting the especially annoying Girl Boss too. (Why not just Boss?) Just another way we’re required to caveat our femininity, or apologize for stepping into the world with a female body.

The following manifesto offers a new paradigm for life as a woman, beginning with the reclamation of our own existence, and the acknowledgement that every choice we make is a choice we make for ourselves, first.

This piece serves to remind us that there is no right way to exist as a woman, and whether you want to go under the knife, or go for the corner office, go vegan, go rogue — or anything else — is your business, and those who disagree can go… well, you know.

In a world that was not built for me,
In a matrix of men who think they know me,
In a web of judgments
All centered around me
Let me make one thing clear:
When I move my hips
a pleasure ignites in between my legs
and it’s for Me, First.

When I paint my nails,
when I bust my ass,
when I sculpt my body,
never doubt for a minute
that it’s for Me, First.

All the magic I make
All the steps I take
All the ceilings I break
They’re for Me, First.

My curves.
My crotch.
My ideas.
My thoughts.
My decisions.
My body.
All. Mine. First.

My butt, my boobs
My hips, my heart.
My cellulite.
My sexuality.

The work I do,
or do not do,
on the gift that is my body,
the gift that is for Me, First.

The cellulite on my butt,
the skin on my belly,
the hair under my arms,
whether I take them
or leave them,
is a choice
that will always be Mine, First.

***

Professionally speaking, Michele Jaret is an award-winning copywriter. She’s penned ad campaigns and TV commercials for some of the world’s biggest brands, and picked up some of the industry’s highest accolades along the way. Today, she focuses on bringing greater consciousness to the way we advertise to women, and shares insights from her path of awakening on Instagram.

***

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