Oct. 25

Repression of Women


A Poet's Quiet Revolt

        I just read an article in August's Time magazine about Aisha, an eighteen-year-old Afghani girl who is currently in hiding in a women's shelter.  She had been beaten by her in-laws and treated like a slave.  After running away and going back to her parents' home, she was charged and taken to court.  Her judge, a local Taliban commander, found her guilty of abandoning her husband and said she must be made an example of in case other girls try to do the same thing.  Her punishment: she was held down while her husband cut off her nose and both ears with a knife. 

        Here's the saddest part of this story.  It's not an isolated case. 

        I want to share with you a poem I teach to my college students from the Bedford anthology.  It is titled "Occupation."  I love the way the poet Eliza Griswold plays with the double meanings of words.


The prostitutes in Kabul tap their feet

beneath their faded burkas in the heat.

For bread or fifteen cents, they'll take a man to bed --

their husbands dead, their seven kids unfed --

and thanks to occupation, rents have risen twentyfold,

their chickens, pots, and carpets have been sold

and women's flesh now worth its weight in tin.

Two years ago, the Talibs favored boys and left the girls alone.

A woman then was worth her weight in stone.


Lina Lozano

5 years, 3 months ago

As an eighteen- year-old american girl I have no way to relate to the girls tragic event. I also do not know the strict rules of other countries or religions. In any place I do believe that women should be in any way treated like this young girl has been. The poem explains the evolution of women even from just recent years. Explaining their hardship "for bread or fifteen cents, they'll take a man to bed --" exhibits that the women are desperate in their country and have to do what needs to be done for their families. The only line that does not rhyme is important for the reader to understand that the womens worth has declined.

Aaron Barajas

5 years, 3 months ago

This is one of the saddest poems I have ever read. The women have to work as prostitutes to probably filthy men just to get food for their children to survive. Their husbands were probably murdered and now they are left to fend for themselves. They might even feel useless or just so insignificant. The only thing driving them forward is their kids, feeding them and trying to give them a place to live.

Abraham Fernandez

5 years, 3 months ago

Truth be told, reading this breaks my heart. It breaks my heart to see how others value women. A woman is a masterpiece crafted by the hands of God to bring joy to a man’s life in unity as one. However it is clear that in a great part of this world we live in that is not the case. Women are worth nothing in these parts of the world when it should be the total opposite. A woman bears the unknown pain of child birth to men and this is how they are treated? No greater than a dog with mange roaming the streets begging for a piece of bread just to survive. It’s unbelievable what humanity has accomplished, for the majority, it has been a negative accomplishment.

A solution in future

3 years, 6 months ago

There's only one solution. Neuter all mans and womens in these countries to make it forced or legalize with international laws. People have to get it... Some humanity rules are forbiden like sterilization. But will prevent these malformed mans spawn around. Their existence already an crime against humanity. Neuter them and get rid all these unhappy womans and lifeless kids.. No need atomic bombs or military force.

2 years, 3 months ago

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Listening to the whispering pines

Hello. My name is Donna Cozart Pauley. Welcome to The Whispering Pines, a literary blog dedicated to my love of the written word. It is an eclectic collage of my life -- from my poems to my stories to my family to my pets to my causes to my photographs to my recipes to my love of teaching to my favorite literature. Please feel free to comment. Words are only important if they are heard or read. Just like those soundless trees falling in the forest.

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