What Is a Woman Worth?

I have done things that do not matter
measuring my worth with each grain of self entitlement I've poured into teaspoons
for the sake of making sure
i don't ask for too much

I pour my self worth into my alarm clock
regulating my sleeping needs
to the tyranny of locker lined hallways
that attempt to shove my individuality into the confines of
shopping bags and high heeled shoes,

For what right does a woman have,
to dirty her hands on the engines of cars
when a man's hands have not first
put them there
and how can she be expected to succeed
in a boy's class in any other way but on her knees?

An assumed 'yes sir' over a spoken 'no'
and I've discovered ego
in the hands of disheveled boys
who fancy themselves men by throwing trash
at the women who walk below

For what is a woman worth,
if they are not appreciative of the freshman boys who equate them
to moving dumpsters,
the receptacles to every insecurity bred from those same fears
that are assuaged by the sight
of ketchup on the side of a face that's fought for the confidence
wiped away with the brush of a used napkin
because no man told her she was worth more

I built my confidence on a childhood declaration
rejecting the idea that my worth was only as high as the leather soles
of the nearest pair of wingtip shoes,

and that my sexuality
labeled me a slut or prude
by how willing I was to offer up myself to insistent men
whose compliments expired on the utterance of no,

twisting beautiful into whore
because my legs stayed shut
and they didn't view me as more

How does a woman know what she deserves
When her body is seen as property to a landlord society
What rights does a woman have,
When she is taught that her gender is more important than her merit

and what is a woman worth,
If we never teach our own children that we are so much more,
than the useless things we do,
to prove to strangers
that we matter.

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