We need to acknowledge women’s hard work and talent in every field including the art world.
The assumption that women find fulfillment simply through marriage, motherhood, and housekeeping lasted for too many years. Betty Friedan’s book published in 1963 coined the term “feminine mystique'' to describe this assumption. At that time, in the western world, women weren’t able to aspire for higher education or a career in any field. The sphere of literature wasn’t any different.
Many women writers had to publish their work using a male pseudonym. Can you imagine this reality?
Even JK Rowling, one of the most successful writers of our century, adopted a gender-neutral name to be featured as the author of that Harry Potter. Educating ourselves can make a big difference, so let’s take time to learn more about some great modern female poets. Throughout history, they have used their voices to raise awareness and shed some light on meaningful matters. They stand up for all of us and deserve our praise and recognition.
Rupi Kaur represents a new generation of poets. She uses social media to share her work and thoughts on womanhood, the female body and recovering from trauma. Poetry was actually what helped her deal with the rape she suffered at a young age.
Her feminist poems are short, direct thoughts on her body, her own life experiences, and reflections on a woman’s responsibility to the women of tomorrow. They cut straight to our deepest emotions. Through her way with words and talent for illustrations, Rupi brings voice to violence, abuse, both love and self-love, sex, and family.
Her art and criticism come in all shapes and sizes. In 2015, she posted a controversial photo on Instagram of her lying on the bed with a menstrual stain on her sweatpants. It was a clear statement. She was trying to destigmatize taboos around menstruation, but Instagram removed the photo because it didn’t “follow Community Guidelines”.
She continued to raise her voice and use her art to fight back and stand up for all women. For that, she is recognized as an icon of contemporary feminism all around the world.
Maya Angelou is known for her poetry. But do you know what she had to go through before that? Among other things, she worked as a cook, waitress, sex worker, and dancer. Interestingly enough, it was in a strip club that she was discovered by a theater group. Years later she headed to Ghana and took a job at the African Review. It was there that her writing and personal development flourished. Once in the US again, she published several books of poetry.
She wrote mainly about love, loss, and both racial and gender discrimination. Maya Angelou wasn’t afraid to approach feminism, as well as racial segregation and male dominance, in her poems. Her confidence is almost tangible. Through her words, you can see that she was proud of her looks and encouraged women to be the same.
Her wisdom and generosity, which brightened everything and everyone around her, touched many lives. For that and much more, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the US, by President Barack Obama. Her political and literary work will never be forgotten.
Amber Tamblyn is more than just an actress, writer, and director. She is one of the faces of modern feminism, advocating for women’s rights, LGBTQIA rights, and racial equality.
Weeks before the #MeToo movement exploded, Amber published her life story in a piece for the New York Times titled “I’m Done With Not Being Believed”. In it, she shared her own story of sexual harassment and criticized Hollywood for being complicit in the abuse of women. She then became a co-founder of the Time's Up movement.
Amber is not afraid to speak up and to use her voice and that’s reflected in her poetry. Among other topics, she addresses misogyny and discrimination, sexual assault, and white feminism. She aims to change the world and wants to empower women to do the same.
Amanda LovelaceWho still believes the princess needs a prince to save her?
Amanda Lovelace is the author of the award-winning poetry collection “The princess saves herself in this one”. She rose to fame by posting her poems on Tumblr and then published them in print. It all started when she was 11 years old, and since then she hasn’t stopped writing. Not just writing, but saying all the things that people keep trying to overlook. Having experienced child abuse, intimate partner abuse, bullying, sexual assault, self-harm, eating disorders, queer-phobia, and more, Amanda turned to poetry. It became her safe haven and refuge.
Many women relate to her words, look up to her, and see her as a source of inspiration. She turns her words into a channel that brings other women comfort and support. More than that, Amanda wants to empower other women. She wants us to have hope and resilience, while standing up for ourselves and being proud of who we are, without feeling the need to rely on a man or person.
Marge PiercyMarge Piercy is known for being a cultural touchstone.
She has always stood up for feminism, raised awareness on environmental issues, and played a critical role as an activist, having organized political movements, such as the Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960s.
It’s in her nature to speak up for her beliefs, and so she pours her heart and soul into her writing, addressing larger social concerns, such as class or culture, written from a feminist position. However, being a woman born in the 1930s, you can imagine that her journey wasn’t an easy one.
She didn’t fit the image of what women were supposed to be like. Her sexuality and ambitions were labeled as aberrant. She couldn’t get her novels published and felt completely invisible at times.
This baggage, however, is what makes her poetry so special. It shows her drive to change society’s view of women.
Poetry is a beautiful form of art. Reading and writing poetry allows us to wander and to find our own voices. It provides windows into each other’s feelings. It connects and inspires people in the most authentic way and it’s also a fight form.
These women are the living proof that we should never underestimate the power of a female poet. They voice women’s inner lives and critique society. And, the fact that many of them are being judged or receiving hostility about their success, means they’re actually being revolutionary and making an impact.
Embrace the concept of sisterhood and keep supporting inspiring women, because we all deserve to be heard, regardless of our gender. Remember the law of attraction: you attract the energy that you give off.