By Marisol Gainey

The following is a submission from Marisol Gainey, a student of Mount Saint Mary’s University.

Gone are the days that I would paint my face away.

Covering more than the blemishes peeking out from under skin.

Dressing in hopes of being objectified, because these days that’s how women win. I wanted to be a showstopper, a shot caller, a siren in the wind.

A woman that could persuade a man to do anything that she says, to follow her every whim. To be “that ” woman, to be the “baddest” bitch, to be the fairest of them all.

Beyond the picture perfect image, I questioned what I could really give? Was beauty really all?

An exploration into self, it’s time to put the toys away.

I used to really like what I really looked like before makeup got into the way. goodbye short skirts and tight shirts, you’ve brought me as far as you could. It’s not your fault but I admit you have more influence than you should.

The birth to a brand new me, dressing by the seat of my pants. But it didn’t occur to me that men would stop asking me to dance. Stuck between wanting to be gazed at but not in that way.

When you’re a woman the world gives you only limited cards to play. To be sexy is seen as every woman’s divine right.

But tell me, how will your sexy support you through the array of life’s strifes?

Although sometimes I feel invisible, like I should try to be ‘girly’ for just one day. I feel more comfortable in sneakers and clothes that allow me to play.

Envisioning a world where I don’t have to fit into a box.

A world where women win is one where they can do what they want.

— Poem by Marisol Gainey

Dr. Nicole Haggard is a faculty member in the Film, Media, and Social Justice program at Mount Saint Mary’s University, and also part of the Equal Voice | Equal Future Editorial Board.

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