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I carry expectation wherever I go.

The expectation to smile, to please, to do what I’m told.

To not be too loud, too brash, or too bold.

I carry the legacy of women who’ve all done the same,

Trying to survive in this world that men made.

I carry the weight of their eyes watching me,

There’s no place outside of my home I feel free.

I tiptoe around, afraid to be seen,

Then pounced on by hunters who see me as meat.

I’m a prize to be taken, then held high above –

So rarely in this world are women shown true love.

We are gawked at and yelled at and then called a cunt,

Cause we’re not down to fuck with men on the hunt.

I am not your meat, your prize, your game,

And if I’m killed all the public will hear is my name.

They won’t know every morning I walked alone to work,

In the cold and the dark where I couldn’t be heard.

They won’t know how each day I feared for my life,

Being cat-called and leered at as I just walked on by,

Trying to tune out the world filled with men,

Saying “fuck it” to rules I’ve heard since I was 10:

“Don’t wear both headphones,

Stay alert and aware.

Don’t wear a ponytail so they can’t grab you by your hair.

Carry pepper spray with you wherever you go,

And it’s safest to be covered from head to toe.

Try to look confident and hold your head high,

And don’t make eye contact so they can’t see the fear in your eyes.

Don’t travel alone and don’t stay out too late –

If you’re out, watch your drink or you’ll likely be raped.”

But the thing is these “rules” don’t make a damn bit of difference,

Cause it’s men at the root of the violence against women.

It’s men who need to be taught not to rape and to pillage,

And we’ve all heard the saying that, “It takes a village.”

It’s taken a village and centuries of excusing

To let men keep doing the things they’ve been doing.

Of course it’s #NotAllMen, so the ones with a conscience

Need to step the fuck up and make other men conscious.

They need to call out those who cat-call for fun,

And make them understand that women are human.

We don’t want your “compliments,” no matter how well-intentioned,

Because each time we feel you’re just trying to get some.

If you ever want women to give you the time,

You’ll have to show us that you have a spine.

Because I have no room for baby-boy men,

Who look at my “tits” like they’re just there for them.

My body is mine, and if I want to share,

It will be with a child for whom I can care.

A child I can teach and raise to be free,

Outside of the fucking patriarchy.

*Inspired by #WhatsInMyBag and the countless women who have experienced violence. May we create a kinder world.

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