In honor of International Women’s Day, I traded my usual hour of Netflix for feminist slam poetry on YouTube.
Slam poetry is inspiring to me not only because I love words, but because I love performance. I love the power behind the words, the emotion in their faces when they deliver the lines they wrote. I especially love angry slam poetry for this reason (actually, it’s kind of hard to find slam poetry that isn’t angry). It’s cathartic, and makes me want to get up on the stage and shout at everyone. Because the thing is, many of us can identify with slam poetry performers on some level, and when we hear someone else speaking the words we often can’t find ourselves, it resonates the way song lyrics do.
I wanted to share this poem, because it resonated with me the most out of all the incredible performances I watched today. In “Pocket-Sized Feminism,” Blythe Baird describes how she only speaks up about feminist issues when it is convenient for her, because she fears being disliked. She doesn’t want to make waves, but must deal with the daily challenges of being a woman- from carrying pepper spray to having to make sure all of her friends got home safely- and realizing that those challenges are not universal. She wants to speak up, but fears that it’s hard to when you want to just accept it.
“There are days when I want people to like me more than I want to change the world.”
“Is silence not an act of violence too?”
Slam poetry is a terrifying concept to me, and goes along with what we’ve been working on in my creativity class all along- it’s about putting yourself out there. It’s about people listening to you as you reveal vulnerabilities, not just through what you’re actually sharing, but how you’re sharing it. When I write, I enjoy the luxury of being able to run away and not watch people’s reactions when they read it (I chose not to speak at my high school graduation for that reason, even though the committee had selected my speech. I hated the idea of reading my own writing aloud to any size audience…forget the hundreds of people attending the ceremony). But these women have such courage to stand up and express themselves, and I want to be able to do the same. I think my creativity class has given me the tools I need to be able to finally do so, at least in front of my small class group as part of my individual project.