Poem and Poem Analysis on Femininity
PART 1: Creative Writing
The Beautiful Thing
Object, that’s what It is
Dismembered, molded – plastic
Beautifuluntil It isn’t
The existence of a stain is Its sin
It is a docile body
But It made itself ideal
Oh how funny! Oh the irony!
Do you know the story?
It thinks it made the decision!
Far from the truth
Delusional object, that thing is
The thing is cold to the touch
As sinister as the carefully painted lips
But who painted them?
Is it not you?
Hands that touch the thing
Marks the surface
“Look how many touched me!” It cries
It is but a thing, after all
But one day it will come to life
One day it will speak
The thing will moveand fight
PART 2: Analysis
The form I used in writing the poem ‘The Beautiful Thing’ is free verse as evident by the fact that there are no rhymes to the lines and there is also no regular rhythm to the poem. I utilized Abstract Language as a style. True to the definition of an Abstract Language, I used a ‘beautiful thing’ as a representation of the concept of being a woman or what is it to be a woman in a patriarchal society. The use of the word ‘beautiful’ is in fact abstract language in itself because instead of the actual positive meaning attached to the word, I used it in a sarcastic way which would question the perception of a society’s concept of beauty. The use of ‘It’ instead of ‘she’ is also intentional as it further emphasized how women are seen as mere objects.
The themes I was exploring were femininity, commercialization of women, and the concept of ideal woman in general. In particular however, I focused on the effect of a patriarchal society on a woman and how it changes the way I woman sees herself. I drew inspiration from the purpose of écriture feminine which is to rebel against the patriarchal order and society. I also took into consideration the form of an écriture feminine which is exposing the treatment of men towards women by ‘bastardizing’ men or describing the neglect and discrimination they have towards women.
I added the last stanza with the intention of providing a boost of self-esteem to women and to offer encouragement that it is possible to break free from this box which the society had caged women in. I used the word ‘will’ instead of ‘might’ in the last sentence because it adds a note of finality to the statement. The last stanza is about empowering women, letting them know that their freedom, their true freedom, is inevitable. The only question would be when it would happen. There is no question of if it will happen.
Of course, I also drew inspiration from three different readings which are “The Body and The Reproduction of Femininity: a Feminist Appropriation of Foucault” by Susan Bordo (1989), “Blogging the Body: The Case of Egypt” by Yasmin Rifaat (2008), and “One Is Not Born a Woman” by Monique Wittig (1981). I also used a video on youtube which featured Jean Kilbourne as she talked about “Advertising’s Image of Women.”
Susan Bardo (1989) mentioned in “The Body and The Reproduction of Femininity: a Feminist Appropriation of Foucault” that “the body is a medium of culture”. This means that the way we see or treat our body is only a reflection of our culture and society. That’s why in the first stanza of my poem, I used the term ‘molded’ to describe the ‘object’ which is actually my representation of a woman. In the end, that’s how I understood Susan Bardo’s explanation. Humans in general are raw materials just waiting to be molded into plastic but if we consider a patriarchal society – which most American societies are – we could further narrow down the category to just women being molded. Now why did I use ‘plastic’ and not something else like ‘clay’? The answer to that can be found in the next resource I used which is the video of Jean Kilbourne.
Jean Kilbourne mentioned in her lecture that the concept of an ideal woman is based on absolute flawlessness. Instantly, an image of a plastic doll flashed in my mind as well as an old song by Aqua titled Barbie Girl in which the lyrics went “I'm a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world / Life in plastic, it's fantastic! / You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere / Imagination, life is your creation” The other words in the first stanza are also inspired by the lecture of Kilbourne. For example, I used ‘dismembered’ because Kilbourne mentioned that only some parts of women are shown on ads to advertise products. For example, breasts or butts. The last line of the first stanza “The existence of a stain is Its sin” is a creative writing in response to what Kilbourne said about how much of a social stigma it is for women to deviate from the image of an ideal woman.
The second and third stanza of my poem talks about docile bodies and the concept of Panopticon as described and explained by Monique Wittig (1981) in “One Is Not Born a Woman.” The theory of the Panopticon was that those in prison will self-regulate themselves after a period of being constantly watched. Women, in this sense are the prisoners and after centuries of being constantly watched by society – being told what to do and being scolded harshly for any social ineptness that their behavior may suggest – they began to self-regulate, that is, the ‘rules’ of being a woman as dictated by them by society are already ingrained in them so that their mindset have also changed. They now welcome these concepts of women instead of rebelling against it. This is the mindset that they pass on to the next generation of women. This idea had become so common, so natural, that very few women actually even consciously notice it.
The ‘you’ in the fourth stanza pertains to the patriarchal society. Because women had started to ‘self-regulate’, it is easier for the patriarchal society to control them, to bring them back and secure them to what Yasmin Rifaat (2008) referred to as “the private sphere.”
All in all, my poem’s main intention is to be an eye-opener to the truth that women’s oppression really is happening. Maybe it is subtle but that makes it all the more deadly because it is so easily overlooked and dismissed. But this issue does exist and it’s time for the women to break free from their personal Panopticon. It’s time to be truly beautiful in the purest sense of the word.
Bordo, S.R. (1989). The Body and The Reproduction of Femininity: a Feminist Appropriation of
Foucault. In A. M. Jaggar & S.R. Bordo (Eds.), Gender/Body/Knowledge/Feminist
Reconstructions of Being and Knowing (pp. 13-32). New York: Rutgers University Press
Rifaat, Y. (2008). Blogging the Body: The Case of Egypt. Surfacing, 1. Retrieved from
Wittig, M. (1981). One Is Not Born a Woman. In M. Wittig (Ed.), The Straight Mind and Other Essays
(pp. 9-20). New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf
Kilbourne, J. (2006). Advertising’s Image of Women. Killing Us Softly 3. Retrieved from