The every day vexes of being on the wrong side of the gender divide…

We all have irritating niggles that eke the dregs out of your daily existence, for instance: making a cup of tea in the morning and it’s too milky, waiting at the side of the road with double figure cars cruising on past not letting you cross, or receiving a text from your bank smugly reminding you that your over-over drawn and that it would be in your best interest to ‘kindly pay money in before 15.30 to avoid extra charges’. I could go on, but don’t worry I won’t because I’m sure you’re all getting the jist. Life is sometimes one hell of a vex.

These minor qualms are all rectifiable however, and easily forgotten about, unless you’re on day six of the bank texts, and you’ve racked up fifty quid bank charges for having no money to pay it back in the first place (oh the bitter sweet irony of being really poor). Obstacles such as these can’t be helped, and being an easy-going, fun-loving youth such as myself (que trumpet) it’s easy to forget about after a few jokes with some friends or a couple of chapters in the mind of your latest protagonist.

But there are some parts of my days that seem to sulk and simmer at the forefront of my mind until my teeth tell me to quit with the grinding. And that’s the helplessness I feel when strange men feel the need to sling pointless and degrading comments in my direction when I’m walking at liberty on my own streets. Women of all ilk have accepted this part of their day as a minor irritant, and mildly upsetting component of their existence. Yet I’ve always struggled to understand why it seems to be socially acceptable to simply brush off sexist comments as an uncompromising factor of our daily lives.

Do we not both walk the same streets every day? Do we not both use the same words to communicate our thoughts? How then, do men feel it appropriate to devalue a woman’s place with words that point to us as lesser beings? We’re not lesser beings, and we never have been. And every time I encounter a man getting his kicks out of sneering comments that make me want to run to my front door and get safely inside I get angry. And when I get angry (or sad, or happy, basically any mood) I tend to write. So here is a poem I wrote shortly after two leering young lads were offering me a fiver for a blowjob when I was walking home from work late one night.

I hope you enjoy my words that have churned from this acrimonious frame on mind of which I’m sure all of the girls reading this can relate, (and hopefully all the men reading this can sympathise).

Fenella x

These days

How is that these days,

When I’m out and about,

Walking down the street,

I feel like a packaged up

Tesco Finest piece of meat?

How is that these days

Everything’s still old school deranged,

Things haven’t changed

And I feel ashamed of this disorder.

I thought you told me there was going to be a new world order?

For days where girls could sashay

Their hips and sway from the sass

That swings from their lips

But all I’m seeing is a man’s man’s world

In disarray.

Disconnected.

That’s the truth of it.

The hard, nitty gritty not-so-witty

Stench of it.

The smell makes me sweat.

Like seeing new times in old rhymes;

‘Get your tits out for the lads’ they said.

Surely it’s better to insult my intellect instead?

Can’t you see it’s always mind over matter

And if we weighed ours up together

Mine would over-spill on a platter.

At least then you could appreciate me

Getting fatter but you?

I can see your numbness in your dumbness.

There’s no life in the old jokes mate,

No need for the unwanted pokes

Or sexist provokes

From your charmless camaraderie

Because it’s all just a facade to me

And the truth is mate you’re broke.

Try something else.

Because these days,

Sexist boys get waylaid,

Deployed, made redundant

Unemployed,

Beautiful girls aren’t toys

And they never will be.

Because these days,

Well, I’ve got a thing or two to say,

About boys,

Who just don’t know how to play.

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