Liberating Words: Exotic Women

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.

Exotic Women
by Rebecca Lin

even after you slander our brothers
and decide that their eyes are too small
that their size would make a woman unsatisfied
that they’re too unmanly to be a man
and shout at them from across the street
go back to your country!

you have the audacity to turn to us
and state that our eyes are beautiful
that our small stature is sexy
that our docility is good in bed
and march up to us just to declare
i love exotic women like you.

and when you say exotic women we know you imagine
the woman with porcelain skin and almond shaped eyes
who obeys your every order and licks your feet
who cares to pleasure only you and never herself
whom you desire so you can show her off and say
this belongs to me.

just how many times have we told you?

we are not submissive
not your objects
not your trend
not your fetish

We are not your exotic women.

Rebecca Lin is a junior at the Winsor School who enjoys skating and spending time with friends and family.



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.