Wolf-whistles prickle like a thistle,
Shouts of “Hello Darlin’” smart,
Heavy footsteps in the darkness,
Terrorise my angry heart.
Wandering hands and stripping glances,
Sorely hurt my woman’s pride.
Gropes by gruesome workplace lechers
Tempt me to commit pesticide.
Doctors, bankers and officials
Treat me like I have no brain
And, if I’m a married woman,
Even rob me of my name.
Male chauvinists ignore my talents,
Strengths, skills and ability,
Give value to the things I can’t do
And to my sexuality.
The boss’s sleazy innuendo
Has promotion as its bait.
The average macho’s condescension
Means I’d rather masturbate.
Male colleagues fear me if my interests
Go beyond maternity.
They undermine if I dare seek
The power they withhold from me.
Greasy door to door vac salesmen
Suggest I’m younger than my age,
Patronise and think they flatter
This ‘bird’ in her domestic cage.
Slimy double glazing agents
Ask me if my husband’s in.
Bar room Casanovas try to
Ply my knickers down with Gin.
If I go to pubs alone I’m
Eyed up like a piece of meat,
Pestered, chatted up, annoyed and
Treated like a bitch on heat.
Walking by myself I’m hounded
By determined, dreary drones
Who will not respect the fact that
I prefer to walk alone.
If I’m divorced, some married women
Seem to see me as a threat
And their narcissistic husbands
Regard me as an easy bet.
Advertising agents use my
Body to promote their wares.
Sordid, semi-ed, married men want
Page three girls in daily papers
Proudly pose enormous breasts.
Growling male voyeurs compare us
And declare mine second bests.
Sexy, advertising features
Have subjection at their core.
Common parlance terms insult me,
Words like ‘slag’ and ‘tart’ and ‘whore’.
Pornographic mags and movies
Suggest my worth is in my crutch.
If I am raped, the implication
Is that I deserved as much.
Yes, I’m a prisoner of Gender,
Shackled in my bruise-blue jeans,
Battle-weary, tired and tender,
But nobody can steal my dreams.
© Lynne Joyce, 1985, still true in 2012.