Poetry and Gender

Girl or guy,

Male or female,

Poetry is not sly,

It simply has multiple answers to the word why,

More variety than the clouds floating through our shared sky~

Gender roles have experienced much critique and criticism over the years. Nowadays feminism is also resurging. In various countries, people are identifying unbalanced gender issues in their respective societies and are making movements toward eliminating such unfair practices and habitual mannerisms.

One of the first assumptions made in literature class is that women have far more legible and clean handwriting than their male counterparts. Furthermore, we come to think that women have far more depth and perceptive abilities in terms of analyzing and explaining stories and tales. Not much after these two lessons, we are introduced to poetry as a form of writing by those who are wealthy and prosperous enough to have the time to write it. Additionally, poetry is then taught as what one writes about lost love or happy days. In summary, in our first encounters, poetry sometimes comes off as a very dramatic, feminine, romantic, and even superfluous form of writing. However, poetry is far more entwined with both genders. 

From terms such as hard power to soft power, the ways in which gender becomes associated with international affairs are many and multiple. As hard power refers to more 'direct' and 'impressive' forms of dominance such as war, it is not too far of a stretch to see how masculine it is. In the traditional mindset During wartime, the men and brothers go to battle while the women stay behind to look after the household. During their limited free time at home, after completing the multiple chores they had, what else was there for them to do than read a book or write poetry Such perceptions are heavily skewed and are not in line with present views of gender roles. However, despite the many forms in which poetry can be shared as well as published today some people still see poetry as more feminine or leisurely than masculine and worthy of attention.

As an intern at a poetry club in Lower Manhattan, I have seen multiple open mics as well as projects hosted by people who have come to the open mic and had performed before. A fair amount of gentlemen and ladies performed. Both sides spoke compelling and moving lines as well as evoked similar amounts of passion as each other had. However, even then, there is a division between masculine poetry and feminine poetry. For instance, a male rant on the state of the government, or regarding rock and roll music, seems more natural, than one highlighting the eccentricities of nature, broken hearts, and the intricacies of love. The latter being female, these topics still affect males as well. However, such topics contribute to a more dreamy, childish view of poetry. As I pointed out in past blog posts, poetry is key to many cultures and is helpful in diplomacy. Furthermore, as diplomatic gestures can lead to war, despite not being physical fighting, are just as critical to, if sometimes not even more critical,  maintaining relations. 

Considering that poetry has been used as war calls as well as in high political debate in the past, it is naive to consider poetry as a highly feminine act. Furthermore, the emotions conveyed by poetry, whether they are using nature as a metaphor or not, can tell histories of countries and circumstances. A poem used to inspire peace in one circumstance, is often countered by a poem used to cause war. Poetry is simply a more elaborate and descriptive, sometimes even secretive, manner of conveying information.  Whether that method of conveying information be used by a man or a woman, its form is not strictly gendered and is just as vital to females as it is to males.


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