Middle Ground - Inspired by Farewell to Rosie the Riveter

Not every girl is Rosie the Riveter

Not every girl is a housewife

You’re so hellbent on labeling us

On shelving us, filing us away neatly

You don’t even consider the middle ground

 

You keep these binaries

By enforcing these roles

You shove us into dresses,

Pry the wrenches from our hands

You tell us our place is in the home

We’re meant to be quiet and gentle.

And anything else is an act of rebellion.

 

And so we do rebel.

We go to school

We become your scientists, your engineers, your mathematicians, your bosses

We lead movements and protests and events

We speak our minds

Loudly and proudly

 

But you were so hellbent on labeling us

On shelving us, filing us away neatly

Now we don’t even consider the middle ground.

 

Dresses or jeans

Wrenches or frying pans

Girly or tomboy

Weak or strong

Passive or aggressive

Submissive or assertive

STEM or other

Nobody considers the middle ground!

I am part of that middle ground!

 

I’m not Rosie the Riveter

I’m not a housewife

I am the middle ground.

I am submissive and passive

But I can be assertive and aggressive

I can’t use a wrench or a frying pan.

I wear dresses on Sunday but usually pants.

And while I enjoy science, my heart is in English.

 

You are so hellbent on labeling me

On shelving me, filing me neatly away

On tearing me from that middle ground

On forcing me to choose a side

Saying I can’t be both

Saying that I can’t be trusted

Saying I’m not enough of a girl

Saying to act like a girl

Saying “you’re a girl remember?”

 

You isolate me

You are part of years and years of damage

That may never be undone.

You make me question my identity

Question if I’m enough

Question what’s wrong with me

Question why do I not fit in a binary?

 

I sided with the tomboys

I sided against being called “weak"

I sided against the color pink

Against dresses and roses

Against fairy tale princesses and romance

I’m not a complete tomboy

I still side against dresses and roses

I prefer leggings and orchids

I still side against pink

I just can’t stand it

 

But there is nothing weak about those things.

There is nothing weak about liking princesses or superheroes

There is nothing weak about liking dresses or jeans

There is nothing weak about liking science or English

There is nothing weak about liking pink or blue

And there is nothing weak about liking all of these or none of these

There is nothing weak about being in the middle ground.

 

You are so hellbent on labeling us

But we can’t be shelved, filed away neatly

Because some of us are Rosie the Riveter

Some of us are housewives

But there are so many of us

So

So

Many of us

Who are the middle ground.

 

This poem is about: 
Me
My community
My country
Our world

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