Objectification: Why My Little Black Dress Will NEVER Mean Yes.

By Lusha Jetley

I was four, when my art teacher told me to pull my tunic down before sitting in class.
I was eight, when my mother bought me a jacket to go with my sleeveless dress.
I was twelve, when I was informed my breasts are too big for my uniform.
I am now seventeen, and I continue to be objectified.
I walk around the market, peering into the eyes of every man, trying to correctly identify his intentions.
More often than not, I am let down when his gaze lowers to places it shouldn't -
The only thought which invades my mind is
"Please, don't think about touching me".
I am seventeen, but then again, she was five.
I am seventeen, but then again, he was two.
I am seventeen, and yet, I am scared.
I am scared of more than just the entitlement of man;
I am scared of the compliance of society.
I am scared of how easy it for us to tell our girls,
That we are imperfect, we are the embarrassment
and we must mend our ways if we are to get anywhere.
I am taught to appeal not only to the fancies of his desire,
but also to succumb to the constructs he has introduced into society.
Tell me, dear sir, are my shoulders truly that irresistible?
Do my knees entice you to commit unholy acts?
Do my bare naked collarbones seem to be screaming for your defilement?
Are you honestly that enslaved to imaginary seduction?
And tell me, dear ma'am,
Why should I have to wear the salwar kameez?
Why am I not allowed to sit cross legged?
And why, oh why is it so easy for you
to shame me, and shame her and shame every girl you see?
What authority do you have over my morality?
What authority do you
or he
or all of you
have over me?

8 comments

  • A striking poem against the societal
    fingers pointed towards women in her personal and public life , against the so called ‘Perfect Girl’ picture of society. Well done!

    Aparna
  • This is beautiful.

    Sanika
  • This was so so moving. It was so powerful. You’re magical Lusha.

    Siddhant Talwar
  • I’m a huge fan of your work and love your writing style.
    This one is especially beautiful and powerful

    Aditeya Shukla
  • Amazing!!

    sheena chugh
  • Powerful. Every line speaks volumes on what society really expects a girl to be. Love it

    Yadawanka
  • It’s a good unflinching piece. If only more poets had the same gutsy fire as the lines you penned here!

    Debolina Bal
  • This is amazing. It’s hard hitting, and I would love to read more from a poet like you!

    Manjari Gupta

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