We are pretty plastic, poured and molded
To the same shape.  Push us out of cardboard,
Precut, with slits for paper dress tabs, a uniform
Chain of girls, patterned, pressed, and folded,
Always holding hands.  We know our place
And stay there, the way put things do,
Silent and interchangeable.  Broken,
Our bodies clog landfills where we’ll never rot
While the pink fades from tight-drawn smiles.







About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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41 Responses to Unwomen

  1. That is so sad …

  2. Alice Keys says:

    AH… the template we’re supposed to fill (or remain inside of). This has been a life crippler. It still comes up. So well trained, I am. Thanks, Susan. Very thoughtful.

  3. yeoldefoole says:

    this makes me weep!

  4. curiously, and delightedly, I’ve never met any two women who were the same – vivre la difference

  5. I’m grateful I’ve always been different and conspicuous because I appreciate the differences in other women that serve me to learn and discover more about myself.

  6. images and molds in the service of commerce! sad!

  7. BroadBlogs says:

    So sad how girls/women internalize secondary notions about themselves.

  8. claudia says:

    ugh…here’s to breaking free from the paper cut row…cheers!!

  9. Miriam E. says:

    i’m so glad not all women are like this… truthful and sad. loved the title, Susan!

  10. Powerfully said. Some of us are glad we stand out. I always say that hate me or love me, but you can’t do without me because I am a force to reckon with.

    • Something tells me, Ms. C., that you are a breaker of old molds and a creator of your own 😉

      • Exactly, Susan. And I can’t be bothered by popular opinion of me. But I tell you, it always get me into trouble, at work, with colleagues who should no better and even at items with hubby. But he is stuck with me for better or worse 🙂

  11. I grew up before Barbie Dolls (had paper dolls, though) and can see the objectification that has resulted from giving girls an unrealistic ideal. It is sad, as so many have noted. And we are so vulnerable.

  12. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    This is excellent, Susan. Your spare images seem bursting with emotion -and then we are reminded that they are plastic toys destined to slowly decay over thousands of years. Or are they what they seem?

    This is great. It goes back and forth and plays with many different emotions and ideas. I immediately thought of “Mad Men” because of the graphic art you included. It is very effective.

  13. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    Reblogged this on The Sand County and commented:
    This is one of the best poems I have read of Susan’s. I like everything that she did here and wanted to share it with others.

  14. Beth Camp says:

    Another fabulous poem! As someone who came of age in the 1960’s when women really were paper-dolls as you describe with few role models, I’m left indifferent to the nostalgia for the past. Technically, paper dolls would decompose pretty quickly, but Barbie won’t. She’s still going strong at Toys R Us for countless generations of girls. I love this poem right from the title, ‘Unwomen,’ to the image ‘we know our place and stay there all the time.’ Whew! Your poem makes me appreciate just how much has changed in the last several decades — and I’m thankful — for your poem and for all the women who have chosen not to “know our place.”

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