her body is a cage
This piece combines coming-of-age with American politics around reproductive rights.
you judge her if her mouth moves or if she keeps her lips pursed you slyly comment about her shirt and you say she looks “easy” and you just continue to label her with words you joke with your friends about her rating and if she is a “perfect ten” and she knows her body is a cage because the rules of being a teenage girl are never spoken aloud but so well-known because she must not raise her voice but hell is coming and the voice must not be too loud because loud is impolite and then she will disappear into words that feel like daggers when whispered out loud and you do not notice the way your adjectives to describe her are echoed by your friends, in the media, and in the courtroom because her body is a cage.
I focused on the distinction between the “you” and “her,” which allows the reader to understand society’s impact on the young woman described. Specifically, the examples of sexism and misogyny mentioned in the poem are ones which harm the young woman’s image of herself. Furthermore, I focused on the culture in settings beyond school, such as pop culture and politics. This was originally published in the Wild Thyme Literary.
Ilana Drake is a sophomore at Vanderbilt University. Her work has been published in Ms. Magazine, PBS NewsHour, and The Tennessean. Additionally, her poems have been seen in magazines such as WriteGirl's Lines & Breaks, CHINCHILLA LIT, and Poetry as Promised Literary Magazine. During high school, Ilana served on the NYC Department of Education Chancellor's Student Advisory Council, and she has advocated for inclusion in schools. When Ilana is not busy engaging in student activism and writing, she can be found enjoying the Nashville weather, hanging out with friends, and swimming. Ilana's work can be found here: https://ilanadrake.wixsite.com/mysite/projects.