When I was seventeen (a poem by me)

When I was seventeen I opened my eyes
to reality, because I cut my hair
and boys kept telling me to be more feminine
even though I was wearing a dress,
as if to say I didn’t deserve the right to
call myself a woman if I wasn’t girly enough
in society’s eyes.

When I turned eighteen I got a tattoo
and some guys told me they wouldn’t date
me anymore,
as if to say I ever asked them to.

When I was only fifteen, it got so hot
at school I took off my sweater and I got sent
to the principal’s office because my shoulders
were sending a sexual message to boys,
and was forced to wear my sweater the whole day,
as if to say my health was less important
than what was in a boy’s mind.

And at nineteen, a stranger slapped my ass
when I went out and told me it was my own
fault for wearing a short skirt,
as if I gave him permission to touch MY body
and got blamed for it myself.

And I also got blamed for not having sex
with a boy because he was “nice”,
which is basically telling me I’m a tease
because a boy treated me like an actual human being
and I didn’t give him what he wanted afterwards.

Tell me sexism doesn’t exist because women
in third world countries have it worse,
and I can only say “Oppression isn’t a competition”
and young girls shouldn’t think this behavior
is normal or ever accept it.

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