The Inequality of Feminism

I have struggled with the idea of feminism and the concept of being an independent female, and would like to take this free choice as an opportunity as an attempt at clearing my thoughts on the subject. Initially I was going to write this as an analytical piece, but it has been pointed out to me that, should I desire to become a better writer, I need to learn to write both creatively and analytically. It has also been said that I need to write more personally. My ideas will, as a result, be presented through a personal poem.


The Inequality of Feminism 

Tell me that I am strong,

Tell me that I am independent,

Tell me that I am a feminist,

For what else am I supposed to be

as a 21st century woman?


But are these characteristics my own,

are these truly who I am?

Or have the lenses through which

my perception of self is formed

been tinted by the expectations of society?

For is it not true

that we are the products

of the society in which we dwell;

that the thoughts we conjure,

 are simply the culmination

of what society has taught us to think.


Am I really who I say I am?


Tell me,

because I need validation,

an explanation,

of that which I have claimed myself to be.


I do not know why those of the female gender

must be adorned

by the title of  “feminist.”


I do not know what this means,

except that I am a product of society,

except that I feel guilty

if a rush of emotions were to overcome me,

if I suddenly longed for a relationship

undaunted by my overly independent, isolated self,

except that I feel guilty

when I embrace the feminine side of me.


Why is it

that society’s conceptualization

of an ideal feminist

is one who lacks feminine traits

and embraces the “masculine?”


Why is it

that males cannot refer to themselves

as feminists

for fear of being “emasculated,”

even though

the ideology clearly states

equality for all?


Why is it

that society’s feminist

is unequal?


It is for this reason

that I am not a feminist under society’s eyes –

I am too feminine,

too stubborn,

“as girls are,”

as I am.


To get rid of my ways,

to submit to the idea

that feminism is a lack of feminine qualities:

to be held,

to be chained,

to be completely enveloped,

in the  more masculine undertones

of my feminine qualities.



if I am not society’s  feminist,

 why does it infuriate me so

when the “inferiority” of females

is justified,

is excused,

 by the fact  that

“we are just women,”

that we are feminine?


Then why does it infuriate me so

when the clear inequality of all

regardless of gender,

goes unnoticed

due to our superficial preoccupations

with what society has taught us to believe?


Why is it

that that society’s feminist

is unequal?


Why is it

that society’s feminism

has overshadowed true feminism –

the balance of both

masculinity and femininity

in an individual?


Equality of the sexes.


This I know,

this I do not question,

 not because I am a female,

not because I claim to be society’s feminist,

but because I am human.


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6 thoughts on “The Inequality of Feminism

  1. Dearest Shyla,

    Oh my goodness, I am left admiring you and your work yet again ( I say that as if I ever stopped). This poem felt almost as an anthem. I can hear it now, a group of feminist protesters attempting to close the wage gap chanting this poem. Filling the streets with their voices fueled by your words. This all to say, I was really fond! One of my favourite lines of your poem was, “Tell me,/because I need validation,/an explanation,/of that which I have claimed myself to be.”. I loved the rhyme, the truth, the questioning of self – all these aspects worked so brilliantly together and created a style that was irresistible. I implore that you challenge yourself to write more poetry. I feel like you know how much I adore your work and if you were to write poetry there would even more for me to love! I guess, my desire for you to write more poetry is completely selfish – take that as you will.

    I am no poet or poetry critic (I am also not certain if that is a real occupation), so I really struggled thinking of anything to improve. Improve is a really harsh word to use for such a great poem, perhaps ~polish~? Anyhow, I found the use of rhetorical question a tad excessive. To counter argue my point, as I really did enjoy this poem, was there an intention behind that to convey your uncertainty.

    I really loved this Shyla. Great work!


  2. Dear Ibukun,

    Thank you for your comment! I am so glad that you liked this poem. One of the things that I was apprehensive about before publishing this to the blogs was the amount questions as I thought that, as you said, they were excessive. I didn’t change them, though, as I felt that these were not things that I could say as fact, or with 100% certainty. I was trying to figure out what feminism was through exploring the ideas in the poem, and I was aiming to pose these questions to the readers both rhetorically, but also for my own “validation.”

    Thanks again, I can’t wait to read more of your blogs as well.



  3. Dear Shyla,

    Woah! I think I really needed to read this poem right about now. Defining what it means to be a feminist and deciding whether I am a feminist has been on my mind a lot lately, so this is perfect because I feel like you’ve written my thoughts out for me in such a beautiful form.
    I believe in equality, for men and women. I believe in feminism in its purest form. But what modern feminism has turned into sometimes feels so much more destructive than constructive. There are expectations to be independent and powerful that feel more oppressive than empowering for some, and the pressure to be a feminist if you are female is overwhelming. All of this often does more harm than good. That all being said, I am a strong advocate for equal rights in every way, which after all is what undiluted feminism is all about.
    I have to applaud you for taking on such a controversial subject. Criticizing certain qualities of feminism, even when supporting its core values, is not an easy thing to do because it can come across badly to a society that really pushes for feminism. But I think you did an excellent job of expressing your own confusion and questions in a respectful manner.
    Your choice to use rhetorical questions throughout the poem worked well – often, using rhetorical questions can make the writing seem somewhat juvenile, but in this poem, I felt they served a purpose, so I liked that they were there. Their placement was powerful; to have you asking questions throughout and weave this sense of uncertainty into your poem but then to juxtapose this with the strong confidence of the ending… wow!
    Another thing I really appreciated was the structure of the poem itself – I liked that it was broken up into stanzas. This helped your piece feel more thoughtful and intentional. It’s so easy, when writing about feminism, to fall into the trap of writing a breathless, tireless rant, but your precise delineation of stanzas was one of the many things that made your poem feel like a well-rounded and graceful expression of thought rather than a ‘stream of consciousness’ rant. I seem to remember in your early days of AP that you had a tendency to write in long, unbroken paragraphs, so it’s really cool to see how you’ve learned from that and progressed as a writer. 🙂
    If I could give you one thing to work on, it would be to make this poem feel more poetic, if that makes any sense. I felt like your lines could literally have been written out into prose form and that it may have even worked better that way. This could just be a personal thing on my part, but I think poems work better with imagery and symbolism in them to support the themes and ideas you’re trying to convey. I feel like your poem is still somewhat bare of these things, and I think it could be elevated to another level of excellence if you wove them in.
    Shyla, you brave and beautiful writer, I really enjoyed this. Thank you for it.


  4. Dear Ziyana,

    Thank you so much for your comment – it means a lot to me, you are a writer and person that I look up to. I am glad that you enjoyed the poem and could relate to it. As for making it more poetic, that was one thing that I just in general struggle with and was a little bit worried about before posting this. I am working on doing more emulations and reading more poetic pieces to improve this skill.

    Thanks again.



  5. Dear Shyla

    I have to preface this by saying I loved this poem to death. It was an amazing piece that really allowed me to put into perspective some thoughts that I’ve been having on the ideas of feminism and gender inequality as a whole. I think that, firstly, this was an excellent choice to make for your free choice, because I know that you have an untapped well of creative potential. I found this piece to be enlightening because to me, what feminism (and “meninism” for that matter) amount to, are simple labels. I think my thoughts on the matter were summed aptly in this poem; “the balance of both, masculinity and femininity, in an individual?” Those lines are what resonate with me the most. I’ve come to realize that each of us, as people, have traits that we can consider to be masculine traits, and traits that we can consider to be feminine- even if we choose to exacerbate certain traits more than others, both types are present nonetheless. I think that it’s at that point that we also realize that we must give equal consideration to both aspects, both as men and women, and as humans.

    As for what you can improve on, I would have liked a little more preface at the beginning, just to reinforce where you’re coming from exactly with this poem, but that might just be a personal preference.

    Thank you so much for this work Shyla, I’m honored to be in the same class as you and I can’t wait to see what other work comes out of you.



  6. Dear Liam,

    Thank you so much! I am glad that you were able to bring this into your own life and personally reflect on it. And as for more prose/a more in depth preface, I will definitely add it to other creative pieces when I write them.

    Thanks again Liam, I can’t wait to read more of your blogs as well.

    – Shyla

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