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Monday, July 11, 2016


After a discussion about how beauty norms serve to maintain women's subordinate status, I ask my WST 101 students to challenge the unrealistic standard of beauty by writing homages to an uncelebrated aspect of their bodies. Lucille Clifton's Homage to My Hips is the springboard text. The following are some of the best responses. --Prof. McNair

Homage to my Eyes by Kristin Sitzman

Looking at a depressing world, trying to keep a smile,
Eyes are known as the windows to your soul
These eyes certainly play this role 
Eyes that don't fit into the perfectly skinny face 
But certainly can remind you of a beautiful place
An ocean that holds the most wonderful hues
Of Turquoise, Green mixed with Blue 
My eyes can entrance...
But can also help the sad girl at the party want to get up and dance!

Homage to my Curly Hair by Laura Suarez

Something about the way you move,
unruly and confident with nothing to prove.
The way you make me feel is indescribable,
consuming me completely, can this be possible?

There was a time you caused me pain
despite it all, my love wont wane.
By my side through thick and thin,
I’ll always know where we’ve been.
We’ve come a long way since the start,
that’s how I know we’ll never part.
Twists and turns, ups and downs,
resting on my shoulder or down my gown.
Luscious and rich, intoxicating scent,
could you really have been heaven sent?

Must be fate or even destiny,
that you were given to me and envied by many.
A simple girl that’s been through hell
you’re truly something that makes her heart swell.
Although she’s short and not so thin,
you’re something she loves from deep within.
Free of judgements and always carefree,
you’re something she can count on that will always be;
Something to enjoy and always aspire,
around to lift her spirits and set her soul on fire.

Homage to My Legs by Lindsay Kirk

Long and leggy
Six foot me
I embrace the height God has given thee.

Childhood legs at Disneyland
Got me on Space Mountain at the age of ten.

Shopping and passing someone who can’t reach
In come my legs “excuse me, can you please?”
Those legs of mine don’t need a ladder,
Stool or chair to reach and gather.

Legs as long as the eye can see
Help me achieve my sports degree!
Volleyball is the sport for me
My legs help me jump, block, spike and be free
To play at Cortland was a dream
My long legs sure made that a shoe in for me.

Always standing out above the rest
These legs of mine haven’t failed me yet!

Homage to my Fingers by Asia Tabbasam

I love my long and thin fingers.
I use my fingers to write
I make Henna tattoo on them

I love my long and thin fingers
My fingers wish to touch the stars
My Fingers with to touch the crescent moon

I love my long and thin fingers
My fingers hold my grandmothers hand and walk her around.
My fingers switch on the light in my life

I love my long and thin fingers
My fingers always wanted to touch my boyfriend fingers
My fingers feel good when they touch his fingers

I love my long and thin fingers
My fingers have skilled to do lots of task
I didn’t know they were piano players

I love my long and thin fingers
I move them millions times a day
They never get tired and they never complained.

I love my long and thin fingers
Thanks for being there when I need you
I won’t be able to do anything without you
I love my long and thin fingers.

Homage to My Breasts by Maddison Levine

They may not be able to speak,
but they say a lot.
I walk down the street with my eyes closed,
but I can still feel the stares.
Such a small part of me,
Yet it makes up so much of who I am.
I can never be sure if he likes me,
Or if he likes what’s below my face.
I used to hate them,
wish they were smaller or even non-existent.
Now, they are part of me.
They are close to my heart for a reason.
They are a part of who I am,
not what I’m ashamed of.
I’m ashamed of the people who care so much about them.
So what?
Let me them talk.
I know that I’m worth more than the flab of skin that hangs from my chest.
I take pride in giving my breasts an homage.

Homage to My Hips by Dianne Eaton

Vivid memories of my reflection in the mirror
Of the changes in my body that were taking place.
Not knowing the power these newly round, full hips would possess
Curiosity on my face.
A woman was awaking at this time.
Little did I know of the mountains she would climb.
Those hips became my strength, my center my core.
Those hips played childhood games like tag and kickball, 
they danced to music and yet they did so much more.
My hips have lured lovers and my life's partner
My best friend.
My hips have held my children
From their love my life's pain would mend.
My strong yet feminine hips are a very central and important part of me.
Their power a thing that once young girl could not foresee.

Homage to My Kinky Hair by Casandra Chandler

Homage to my kinky hair
I was so young and ashamed
So kinky and strong
It was different from the other kids
I didn’t understand why
Afro puffs, cornrows, braids
No perms or relaxers
Early Sunday morning’s hot comb
Running through my kinky hair
I started to look like the other kids
Bone straight hair
Jet black and Silky
Now I embrace my beautiful kinky hair
So natural and full of life

Homage to My Voice by Shantia Beku

A voice that is used to express 
A voice that society standards try to silence 
A voice that can change a person’s day 
A voice that can be used in a positive light 
A simple hello that can change a person’s mood 
I use this voice to speak for others that are unable to 
I use this voice to spark minds 
I use this voice to speak only truth 
I use this voice to bring awareness 
I use this voice God has given me 
My Voice…

Homage to my Career Path by Amanda Bowrosen

The puzzled faces of the men in the room  
The constant questions and surprise 
Sometimes I would like to just be the photographer
But I’m always “the woman”
My appearance isn't for your pleasure
My mind isn't for your entertainment 
My work ethic isn't because of my gender
Sometimes I would like to just be the photographer
But I’m always the sexual object.
My gender has nothing to do with success 
My looks have nothing to do with with qualifications
Don’t judge my intelligence because lack of representation
Sometimes I would like to just be the photographer
But I'm always "unqualified". 
I’m proud to be myself
To choose a path not chosen for me
To be a tattooed, short haired, woman photographer 
To challenge the patriarchy 
Sometimes I question being the photographer
But being the photographer is an achievement,
that I’m glad offends you.

Homage to My Body Hair by Emily Marquette

Blessed be my hair!
Since pubescence hit
Hair on my head, every color of the rainbow!
I'll never go back! I used you get told I'd never get a job
Never get a boyfriend
Screw you, pink hair dye forever! I am a work of art.
Hell yeah body hair!
Secret hairs! Big toe hairs! Little belly hairs! Sweaty pit hairs!
"Aren't you supposed to shave there?"
I say, "Mind your own hair!"

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