Eyes Wide Shut

Hello! My name is Shannon Forman, I am a freshman this year at Temple University. Writing has always been a way for me to express myself, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to share some of ... [+]

We don’t realize we are being excluded, we are 9 years old and although we feel sad,
we understand that girls can’t keep up with the boys.
We know we’ll be called names, and made fun of for playing tag
Or riding a bike without tassels,
We get it, we’ll stick to our barbies.

We don’t realize we aren’t girly enough,
when we are 11 years old and none of the boys think we are worthy of a valentine.
We didn’t know that we had mosquito bites where some girls had breasts,
Or that wearing our hair in a ponytail made us look like boys.
We ask our mothers why boys don’t have to care about how they look
She tells us, because they are boys.

We don’t realize we are being sexualized, when we are 13 years old
and asked to cover up our shoulders.
God forbid we give the boys a hard on,
Suddenly it becomes our job to keep this from happening,
Suddenly we are distractions, not a human beings.

We don’t realize we are being pressured, we are 15 years old at a bus station,
and he won’t stop asking us questions.
A bus route turns into our age,
A stop turns into where we live,
A ticket turns into how nice our eyes are.

We don’t realize we are being harassed, when we are 16 years old at our first job,
and we’re told not to worry, and that he touches all the waitresses like that.
And we don’t worry, because we are so excited to have a job,
And although it makes us feel uncomfortable, we stay silent,
Because he touches all the girls that way.

We don’t realize we are being groped, when we are 17 years old at our first party,
and he puts his hands somewhere they should not be.
He’s just drunk they tell us, he’s just being a boy
As though that is an excuse to place his hands on our body,
And we’ll act like such a girl if we express any feelings about this.

We don’t realize we are being silenced, when we are 18 years old
and our rights to our own bodies are being stripped away.
When we come forward about rapes,
And are told we are liars.
When we are told we don’t get the promotion,
Because we refuse to sleep with our bosses.
When we are forced to have babies
We didn’t want in the first place.

We are 19 years old, and realize that we are not weak, we are strong
We can be beautiful and brave
Smart and outspoken
Fearless and bold.

We are finally realizing,
Finally opening our eyes and seeing
That these are our bodies,
That we are allowed to have feelings,
We are allowed to have opinions,
And that we are certainly allowed to say no.
We are strong,
We are half of this planet,
And we’ll be damned if we let anyone
Tell us how to be women.