Every girl has a set of wings,
budding from her back.
Breaking from skin with interest and ideas.
Golden, silver, jeweled wings,
prepared to take flight in the world.
How do many women end up with bloody stumps?
With nothing where their wings should be?
The first feather plucked in preschool-
with “he’s just being a boy”.
Preschool “flirting” with fists.
“Be a lady.”
“That’s too much for a girl.”
“Look at your pretty face; too delicate for this.”
Each word a plucked feather,
each comment clips the wings.
It takes time.
Some only take a month of life, some take years.
A few, a brave few,
still wield glorious wings
but they are judged for it.
“She got there by manipulation.”
“She used her ‘feminine wiles’.”
“We all know how she got so far.”
For a woman to succeed,
she must think like a man,
she must act like a man,
and then she is accused as a woman.
Somehow a girl cannot be successful and gracious,
but she is to be both.
Impossible tasks, deceptively simple in appearance.
Those who pluck may not realize-
they tear wings with every word.
Casual, off hand,
ingrained in behavior from youth.
Then there are those who know,
and attack regardless.
Laugh at the jokes, catcall and cheer.
Worst of all are the pleasure seekers,
who see it as a game,
with men the hunter
and women the prey.
The world seems static,
with stumps and battered wings around.
But slowly, wings are coming out.
New wings, wings of freedom
bursting in showers of shining ideas.
Freedom is coming,
released by those who work to save young ones’ wings,
sometimes at the expense of their own.
And one day,
the women will soar
and the world will change for good.