This is actually based on a poem I wrote a long time ago. The original one was very bad and was born basically from talking to James about poetry and wishing I could write poems and then him saying – just write about what you know, what you’re passionate about. So I did. I tried to make it funny but I don’t think it is… I think it’s just moany and annoying. I did put in a reference to David Cameron’s ‘calm down dear’ which I thought was clever. Anyway here is the new updated edited (and hopefully better) version:
When they ask me: ‘why are you a feminist?’
When I stand up, hands on hips, ready to retort, call out, condemn their sexism,
And, they say to me Calm down, dear! then decide: ‘It’s cos she’s on her period’.
Yes well done, you got me – I’m only angry because I’m bleeding!
I tell myself, they obviously don’t understand what it’s like
To bleed into their knickers every month, feel their insides being pulled from within them,
Simply because they have no cock, nicely taxed as a luxury at 5%.
I remember when I was 11, and they first told us about Sex
significance put on pain, protection, scary diseases we could never pronounce
It will hurt, they said with a knowing look, just don’t do it, girls, and you’ll be okay.
Our sexuality, our pleasure was shunned, put in a box, never mentioned.
I remember when I was 16. Teachers reminding me:
Make sure your skirt is below your knees. Or else the boys will be distracted
Because of course, their education matters more than mine.
I remember when I was 17, alone in Paris, on top of the world
The Métro, rush hour, gare du nord. A man’s hand squeezes my bum,
I turn around and he grins then winks at me.
He has more right to my body than I do.
Now I’m 18, in a club with my friends,
sweaty guys surround us, feeding us drinks
pushing themselves into us, their hands everywhere
and we leave, because of course it’s our fault
for dressing up, short skirts and heels, they can’t help themselves
Boys will be boys, after all.
Next time they ask me why are you a feminist?
I will stand up, hands on hips,
Caitlin Moran in one hand, Germaine Greer in the other
And say to them:
The real question is: why are you not?