Rice is an amazingly accepting place, with genuinely good people who care to understand. And maybe by sharing this poem I’m preaching to the choir. However, I believe that even in the most wonderful of places, there are issues and conflicts and problems that need to be addressed. We as a student body are extremely understanding and conscientious of being sensitive/respectful towards others choices, but there are always ways in which we can do more. So, to explore a few persistent gender stereotypes, I’d like to share “What do you mean equal?” Please feel free to leave your thoughts and comments regarding this poem, what you believe gender equality means, or anything else!
What do you mean equal?
by Sree Yeluri
We can't be equal until we all agree,
That an individual is whatever they choose to be.
Women and men can't be defined as strong nor weak,
We are a bit of both, undeniably unique.
Equal means a woman can walk
without worrying that others will mock.
Equal means a man can cry
without others wondering whether he’s a guy.
Society expects women to be modest and compliant
but what if, instead, we are defiant?
Men are expected to be dominant and tough,
But, surely, to be honest and kind is enough.
Don’t tell girls that they are to be seen and never heard,
or teach them that their only job is to cook, it’s absurd.
Don’t teach boys to be domineering,
or tell them that their future lies solely in engineering.
I fail to see how society has the right to decide,
The unspoken rules that individuals are constantly forced to abide.
We each have the freedom to choose,
our actions, our words, and our views.
Written by Sree Y.