Why Feminism? A Poem.

by Gaopalelwe Olivia Phalaetsile

Because when I asked my father why I change my name after marriage, he said, "You don't belong until you married."
Because while my granny was teaching me to cook, brother was too manly to stand in front of a stove.
Because while I was in boot camp, training to be the good wife, brother played video games.
Because I was told men cheat, better make peace with it now.
They said, a woman who sleeps around is a slut.
Because losing my virginity at 16 was a sin, brother was just going through puberty when he did it so it's okay.
Because it's okay for brother to mock the blood spot on my skirt.
Because I was told men run this world.

"Women must behave."
"You talk too much," they say.
"Stwaap being ratchet."

Because when a child is a mess, they always ask. What kind of mother does such?
Because it’s my fault when a man leaves me and my children.
"Woman, choose better next time," they say.

Because when he forced himself on me, he told me, "I only took what rightfully belongs to me."
"A woman must always give her man what's due to him," they say.
I heard when a woman cheats it hurts more than when a man cheats.

Why Feminism?
Because instead of being taught to love his woman, brother was taught to be a man.
While he wondered what it means to be a man.
He watched as the men around him...
Beat their wives, cheat on them.

Because when my brother cried after a bunch of girls made fun of me.
He was told, "Man, that's gay."
Because instead of being allowed to express his emotions, brother was taught to sort out a nigga.
Violence became an expression of pain, hurt and disappointment.
Because when brother was four and asked for the pink top.
His choice was frowned upon.
"Men don't wear pink."

Because after cheating on his first love and breaking her heart, brother heard he is a chick magnet.
"Dude, you are a boss."

Why Feminism?
Because little boys are taught to be men.
Little girls are taught to be women.
Who teaches them to be themselves?

Photo: Shutterstock

Gaopalelwe Olivia Phalaetsile is a black South African female journalist who is also a single mother to one little boy. She fell in love with writing in high school. She is an activist and writes to make awareness of social issues and change peoples minds about issues pertaining to women empowerment.