Liberating Words: “Growing Up”

The poems in our ongoing “Liberating Words” series were written in an interdisciplinary course for high school juniors at The Winsor School, an all-girls school in Boston, Mass. 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 1960’s and 70’s. 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.

Growing Up

His fluffy teddy bear
Her squishy stuffed animal

His blue blanket
Her pink one

His piles of Legos
Her pretty Barbie dolls

His crazy paintball party
Her cute tea party

His cleats in a pile by the front door
Her shiny new heels lined up in the closet

His first hookup, boasted about to his friends
Her tears, flowing down her face in the corner

His first paycheck, a big smile
Her paycheck, smaller than his

His reason to leave
Her first kid



Lia Kornmehl is a junior at the Winsor School who is passionate about jazz music, milk chocolate, and equal opportunities for women in the workplace.