Liberating Words: “Call to Action”

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.

Call to Action

By Ruby Eisenbud

She keeps her mouth shut.
Smart, not opinionated.
Powerful is bossy is bitchy.

No one listens anyway.
She pretends to trust them.

Their expectations restrain,
constantly overwhelm
and contradict.

Some tell her she can do anything.
Go anywhere,
learn freely,
become a leader.

But they also don’t want her to get any ideas.
They still need her.

Her brain gives her the power
to stand up, take them on,
teach them that silencing and ignoring her
is lost potential.

She imagines her future.
A world
where she can think, speak, lead,
without them dictating.

She has her own ideas.
Of change
that this world just doesn’t seem to be ready for.
Even though the time is now.

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Photo courtesy of Flickr user Pabak Sarkar licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

Ruby Eisenbud is an aspiring engineer and global change-maker. She is the co-founder of Go Girl Global, an eco-feminist news and ideas platform for girls, and a leader of the Winsor School’s feminism club, Girls of the World.