Dear Men (and women)

Dear Men,
I can't even remember the first time I was catcalled as it happens so frequently
it now feels like a routine.
The male species that I've encountered implanted so much fear in me that I’d rather take the long route to class than pass a pathway full of boys
and I’m only 15.
A recent study performed by an organization called Hollaback! found that on average most women experienced catcalling for the first time
between the ages of 11 and 17
When I was younger, I mistook your words for compliments
But I realized how destructive they were when I began questioning my own body
Asking myself if it was because of the way I dressed, or compared to other girls
the fullness of my chest
Dear Men,
When you lay your eyes
on a woman passing by
And your mouth delivers
a package, labeled compliments
But when opened, erupts a volcano
of degrading words, hot like lava
whistles pierce her ears, hard like rocks
requests of a smile, a hug, boil her blood like steam
think of your mother
your sister
your daughter
your aunt
the girl right next to you
envision their countenance
and think to yourself
would you tell them you'd hit that?
why watch those vines of oppression
wrap around their bodies
her body
my body
our bodies
and suffocate us until there is nothing left
when you can instead appreciate
the body
that gifted you life
eradicate
those suffocating vines
Dear men,
Why are our bodies seen as
everything
but ours
when a woman is violated
she’s asked “what where you wearing?”
as if her clothes are a neon sign
deciding when shes open or closed
some women try to avoid it by covering up every inch of skin
yet 85% of women still get harassed
Its like a game set up solely for you to win
when puberty strikes girls are erocticized
seen as objects
parents tell their daughters
cover up your legs, your shirts too tight
go change your outfit, men are coming
boys
will be
boys
no, I say
boys will not be boys
boys will be held accountable for their actions
boys will respect girls
and boys will grow into men that see
women
as human
Ladies,
Catcallers have not been complimenting you, they've been gradually turning you into an object
something to examine, to touch, to claim
their words are meant to be vines in your garden.
made to constantly wrap around you, until you've been pulled through the ground
to the lowest level of the earth
surrounded by darkness
And you feel like there's no way out
like you'll never get back up
But today
I hope I can guide you back to the light
with my words
the greatest gift given to me
Dear Women,
The length of your skirt or the amount of cleavage peeking through your shirt
Does not define who you are or your self-worth
You are not a machine made exclusively for pleasing or exclusively for birth
I'm here to tell you, you are not less, because when you finally start to see the power you possess
A corrupt system invades your awareness causing you to regress
Despite all the pressure, I need you to remember
You are beautiful
You are intelligent
You are strong
And you are everything any man ever told you
you could not be
erase all those bullet like words that lead you to hate your body
embellish the blank canvas you were given with words that uplift you, words that shield your soul from the knives that are thrown at you
everyday
no, your stretch marks are not a stain on your skin
But rather a mark of the various places your body has been
no, your scars do not make you
look weak
But rather they're an element to your story in which is so unique
Your acne doesn't make you ugly, it's just a part of life
You're a being made for imperfection but yet so divine
Stop picking your clothing based on if Bob from chemistry class will like it
or if Billy thinks it's too provocative
Choose your clothing because it makes you feel like you run the world
Because you have the power to
Never let anyone label you or assign you a definition
as that is your job and today it will be day you turn down applicants applying for that position
Today you're going to see yourself as the woman you really are
Today
you're going to take back
your body.

This poem is about: 
Me
My community
My country
Our world
Poetry Terms Demonstrated: 

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