Tried It

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Cross posted from the Kinky Curly Theological Collective.

They told me that if I was a good girl
And didn’t mess with the boys
And wore long skirts
And blouses buttoned up
And was polite
And served Jesus
And did not hang out late
And always went two by two
And didn’t flirt
And minded the company I kept
And didn’t drink, or dance, or do anything that could be misconstrued as promiscuous
And spoke up, but not too loudly of course
And kept my legs closed
And my language clean
And my heart pure
And didn’t wear my heels too high
And learned to fight
And screamed if I was being threatened
And walked along busy streets
And kept my distance
And didn’t look too good
And…

I tried all of the ands
I even invented my own
It didn’t work
It didn’t stay inappropriate language from customers
It didn’t keep men from practically groping me after I preached a sermon
It didn’t stop the little boys from trying to get it
It didn’t persuade fathers of my peers wishing they were just a little bit younger
It didn’t prevent the older men from telling each other I was ready
It didn’t lead men – younger, older, black, white – from asking, “When can we fuck?”

I tried all of the tricks that I could think of
And nothing could stop their advances

Perhaps I was never the problem
Perhaps it was never about me
Perhaps, well maybe, it was them all along
Maybe no one ever told them
That it just isn’t polite
To harrass and assault women

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