Friday, November 25, 2011

A Rant Poem For International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

It is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and i am thinking about the way mainstream (patriarchal) culture can discuss the global pandemic of violence against women and somehow avoid directly mentioning the violent men (and there are apparently hoards and hoards of them out there ) who are the perpetrators of these crimes. Why do we avoid calling it the International Day for the Elimination of Male Violence Against Women? As I write this I see that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said in his address for this day that "young men and boys must be encouraged to become advocates", that we must "promote healthy models of masculinity" and get rid of "outmoded male stereotypes" if we're going to make any headway in this struggle.

How can we eliminate male violence against women? To begin, shouldn't we first take a good look at that male violence, name it, define it, look at it long and unflinchingly so that we know what we are up against, so that we know exactly what is wrong and how to address it? I tried to do that in a rant poem called Patriarchal Rap, written a few years ago, and humbly offer it to you today. It's not great literature. But it is my honest attempt to contribute to the naming and defining of male violence against women, of defining it so that we can recognize it, and stop it. I thank you for hearing.

Patriarchal Rap

I am a godly man.
I beat my woman whenever I can.
Don’t you know that she likes it this way
Her wounds will get her into heaven one day.
See her sit down so obediently
See her recite God’s word so reverently.
She learned this at the end of my fist
She was bred so as to never resist.
I took over where her daddy left off,
It will never be said that as a man I am soft.
Its my job to knock the devil out of her,
The boss-men are Jehovah, Rasta Fari and Allah,
I chose gods and masters who would demand and bless
A man’s greatest prize: a silent woman in a bloody dress.

I am a godly man.
As good a slaver as any you can name.
Got my own plantation in the neighbourhood,
Its my turn to wield the whip and draw the blood,
She is willing to receive every blow,
She believes her rightful place is far below
She remembers her final attempt to escape,
Of being brought down by the dogs of poverty and rape,
And the women of God, handmaids in Feminist disguise
Who marked their exes and assured her demise.
It took a few broken bones for her to finally agree
Compliance is better than the loneliness of living free,
Her community doesn’t care if she dies in the night,
Her church is strengthened when she is drained of the fight.

I am a godly man.
I got the Bible as proof and the Koran.
From east to west are all my brothers in agreement,
Six feet down the dead women encased in cement,
This is my culture as my grandfather created it
A broken woman’s what I need to perpetuate it,
You have to beat her down good but do not kill her,
Leave her breath enough to make your dinner,
First you hate her, then put her to work,
Laugh till she’s too shamed to rise up out of the dirt,
Whether she is a maid, a mother, or a parliament member,
All Bahamian women give over their bodies for tender,
She will never save a self I taught her to deplore,
She can only pray to be allowed entry at heaven’s back door.

I am a godly man.
I forgive her femaleness with the back of my hand,
Keep her pregnant with the next generation,
I live so well in this woman-hating nation,
I am sovereign king and all women are my peasantry,
I got my posse in the pulpit and in the assembly,
I got balls as big as P.I. and nobody can touch me,
I could kill her dead right now and no one would stop me,
Am I not as a god, calling murder divine?
Do I not feel as a god feels when I kick her to the ground?
See how she carries a book of my laws in her hands,
Surely it is plain for you all to see that I, I am a godly man.

No comments:

Blog Archive