More than 4.6 million refugees have fled Ukraine with the onslaught of Putin’s brutal invasion. More than 70 years ago, my Dido (Grandfather) Osyp, Babtsia (Grandmother) Maria, and Teta (Aunt) Helen escaped Ukraine too, thanks to the heroic efforts of a Ukrainian-American woman named Mary (Marusia) Beck.
Bye, Binary: A Story Collection on Gender
I was conditioned as a little girl to think that I was inferior to men. “You hit like a girl,” “Stop being such a little girl,” “You sound like a spoiled little girl,” or even “You’re such a pussy,” versus “You got some balls.”
And so, men are told to man up, that crying makes them weak. So when Harry Styles wears a dress on the cover of Vogue, society says to “bring back manly men.”
Double standards. Gender norms. They are breaking everyone.
–Mentee Amihan del Rosario Tapan
A poem about the internalized male gaze that verbalizes the ways it affects my thinking and everyday life.
There’s an untold story behind every woman.
This is a short narrative essay reflecting on the discomfort I feel regarding the sexual assault I experienced in the past. I express how I wish to move on from it, but I feel stuck.
Caster Semenya is a South African runner who has been banned by the IAAF from competing with women because she was found to be hyperandrogenic, meaning she has a higher level of testosterone. This whole investigation was based on the opinion of fellow athletes that she looks like a man. As a result, she must either take testosterone decreasing drugs to compete with women or run with men. As of now, Semenya is still fighting the case, not just for herself but for the human rights of all women.
This piece is about the double standards that plague society and force women to be small.
I sat in Port with my legs curled up on the floor, leaning up against my bunk bed.
In their second episode of Everyone’s a Little Bit Gay, Angelica and Amina discuss the ups and downs of growing in their sexuality as young women. They analyze the ways that their families and society have conditioned them into expressing their sexual desires and how to break free of the bonds of traditional femininity.
“Violence against women” looks into the way that society views and constantly normalizes all the struggles that women face.
“Sapogi” is a tender yet heart-wrenching examination of a mother-daughter relationship and a testament to the nuance of the cultural divide, or conversation, between immigrant parents and their children with shoes as the centerpiece.
“I Smile Lemon Peel” is a heart-wrenching, at times sour (no pun intended) journey of a woman finding her place in the world as she navigates her relationship with her body and her struggle to reclaim her agency over it. An homage to the image of the 1950s housewife baking a lemon meringue pie, this poem depicts the untold story of women as survivors, not victims, as they witness sweets curdle before their eyes, refusing to crumble when people pillage their bodies/souls.
“Her, An Indian Girl” reaches out to girls who may feel low about their appearance or features. It teaches her to love how she looks and how she has been crafted.
In New York, there are many times I’ve been catcalled on the train. I wrote this poem to release my bottled up anger about the constant catcalls and times I was seen as an object.
Join me on this four-year journey to become the Meril I am now.
A young girl born to immigrant parents trying to fit into American society. She realizes that she is uncomfortable with herself and the nation.