Liberating Words: “I Did Not Ask”

The poems contained in this series, “Liberating Words,” came out of an interdisciplinary course for high school juniors at The Winsor School, an all-girls school in Boston. The course, “The Personal Is Political:  An Interdisciplinary Look at Feminism,” is co-taught by Libby Parsley, a history teacher, and Susanna Ryan, an English teacher. The second unit of the course focuses on the history and literature of second-wave feminism: the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and ’70s. Students read a compilation of poems by women writers from that period and then wrote their own poems; the assignment asked them to represent an issue or problem they see as central to 21st-century women’s experience through the very personal genre of poetry.

I Did Not Ask

By Alexandra Farina

Make NO eye contact
Looking is asking and asking is dangerous because you may get back more than you wanted
Which you didn’t want but looking is asking so

Make NO eye contact and look down and don’t ask but listen.
Listen to the men who tell you how pretty, hot,
“damn those legs, hey lady, i wanna take you home”

Put away your fist it has no power here
Make NO eye contact.
Looking is asking.
Asking is dangerous.

So there.

Alexandra Farina lives in Boston and is a junior at the Winsor School. She loves to dance and play squash, and she is head of her school’s GBSTA. 

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Photo courtesy of Flickr user Tom Waterhouse licensed under Creative Commons 2.0