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“Pretty in Pink” Poem

While scrolling through Tumblr last night, I fell upon a poem that struck me. It hit all the points we discussed in class. It showed all the inequality women go through on a daily basis, addressing rape culture and how we accept it rather than fight against it.

Here’s the poem;

— pretty in pink.

When I was 10, I saw

my first episode of Law & Order, SVU

a woman screamed

and her pretty pink dress ripped

the scene cut to black but then

she sat in a station

hair mussed and mascara running

and she seemed broken

and empty

and that’s when I began to prepare

for the inevitable.

When I was 12, my sister got

hit on by a boy

he looked at her funny

and I couldn’t forget

how his eyes tracked

her pink t-shirt

around the room

he reminded me of the predators

that I saw on nature documentaries

and for the first time, my strong sister

seemed like the prey.

When I was 13, my auntie bought me

a pretty pink can of pepper spray

she told me if my daddy comes at me

or any other boy

I spray hard and fast

kick them in the balls

and then run run run

as fast as I can.

I flicked the safety switch

on-off, on-off

and clipped the can

to my purse.

When I was 14, I went to a sleepover

and met a boy named Jake

Jake was 18 and had tattoos

he smelled funny and his eyes

didn’t leave me all night.

He waited for me in the dark

outside of the bathroom

and I sprinted fast fast fast

and hid under a blanket.

Clutching my pretty pink can

and flicking the safety

on-off, on-off.

(I didn’t sleep that night)

When I turned 15, my mom took me

to buy some new bras.

I had to go up a cup

and I stared at the pretty pink tags

and told her that I knew

Knew that some day

that cup size

was going to get me in trouble.

She looked sad when she said

that it wouldn’t be the cup

but the men who’d take my body as an invitation.

(I didn’t see the difference)

No one ever talks

about the pretty pink can

on my purse.

No one ever mentions it

or asks about it

And I never get pulled aside in stores.

People’s eyes flick over it

dismiss it.

But what I want to know is;

How is it okay

for a kid like me

to have a weapon?

I’ll tell you how.

It’s because I’m a girl.

We’re trained since we hit puberty

for a war that no one wants to talk about

trained for horrible things

that people claim never happen

Or worse- “They happen for a reason”

we are told to be careful

we are told not to take walks after it’s dark

we are told to fight back to be compliant to yell and to stay silent

but nothing you tell us

ever works.

I don’t know how old I’ll be

when all of that advice

will be needed.

I don’t know how old I’ll be

when I’ll take a shower

and see blood mixing with white

running down the inside of my legs

swirling into a pretty pink cream

while I try to un-break myself.

I don’t when it’ll happen,

But I know that it will.

tomorrow or years from now-

and I’m scared.

But hey!

At least we girls look pretty in pink.

Source/author: Alice, http://owlmylove.tumblr.com/About_Me

This poem just breaks my heart because its so true and honest. Its not fair that we have to protect ourselves instead of teaching society what’s wrong. Its not fair that we hit puberty and become preys to predators that are no different than us, humans, but what makes them predators is their mindset. The fact that they think it’s ok to take advantage of someone. The fact that they think they earned this. The fact that they think women are something to hunt, to win, to attack. It’s not fair that we have to fear it everywhere we go, from dark alleyways to the walk home. 5Am, 12PM or 8pm. Youre always in danger, youre always on watch for a hunter, a predator, an attacker. Its not fair that we learn to protect ourselves. Its not fair that we have to learn how to NOT BE raped rather than how to NOT rape. How to NOT BE attacked rather than how to NOT attack. How to avoid situations and fight them. It’s just not fair and it breaks my heart knowing that so many girls around the world are experiencing the same thing, and it doesnt seem to get better, it doesnt seem to change.


4 Comments

  1. khamida23 says:

    This has become one of my favorite blogs. This poem completely broke my heart. I also do not understand why we are teaching girls (the prey) how to avoid being hunted rather than teaching boys (the predators) how to NOT hunt. This is sad because it completely disrespects our human species. This just proves at the end of the day regardless of our intelligence, our accomplishments, our “top of the food chain ego”, we are simply animals. I would also like to add, I too carry pepper spray; it is not a pretty pink can but a black can representing the darkness of the entire situation. It is sad that I even carry it, but what’s sadder is that I feel safer with it, even though I unconsciously know it will never really protect me.

  2. analyg says:

    This poem is amazing. It really does hit on everything that a female sort of gets hit with during the growing up phase. I was reading it, and it’s so sad to see that her aunt mentioned if her dad came at her in a bad way. I do too carry a pepper spray, and though I haven’t had to use it yet, it’s there. I do think in this situation, women need to know how to fight back and how to defend themselves (without weapons), but it’s sad to think that men really don’t do like, boxing training or martial arts training in order to protect themselves from another person coming at them. That’s pretty much a female reason to do it. It’s completely different.

  3. mpietila says:

    I love this poem! It is upsetting but true. I completely understand because I have been raised this way, to always be on alert. Like you said, no matter what time of day, women always have to be on guard. It’s sad and unfortunate that life has to be this way. It’s hard because I can’t ever see it changing. There are always going to be those few people out there that make life difficult and scary for others.

  4. hebasha says:

    Teaching our girls not to get raped, rather than teaching men not to rape (Or, rather, teaching PEOPLE not to rape). Good job, society. *sarcasm*

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