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The Breakthrough Voice 15th June, 2020

6 Spoken Word Performances That Challenged The Patriarchy.

“They told us to be careful. To be safe. Then told our brothers to go out and play.”
– Blythe Baird

Calling out to all poetry and spoken word enthusiasts! If you feel passionately about all things feminism, gender, sexuality, non-binary and consent – then this spoken word listicle is just right for you. If you don’t feel strongly about the latter or the art of the spoken word – take a look anyway. There’s so much we can learn and tune in to.

1) Title: ‘Say No’

Poets: Megan Falley and Olivia Gatwood

You’ll love this poem if you feel strongly about consent, sexual entitlement and gender roles.

“They will curse the day you learned any other words besides yes and sorry.”

This powerhouse of a poem dives into all of the moments that make saying “no” such a difficult and discouraged act of resistance. It also illustrates exactly why the concept of consent is so extensive and nuanced, by showing us all of the ways that our decisions – our “no”- may be ignored or punished.

2) Title: ‘Lost Voices’

Poets: Darius Simpson and Scout Bostley

You’ll love this poem if you’re passionate about intersectionality, allyship and privilege.

“We have two different wounds and looking at yours does nothing to heal mine.”

Two poets from different marginalized groups speak for each other’s experiences in this piece about the intersectional nature of injustice and oppression. It provides a nuanced and gripping take on the ways we can support one another so that we do not ignore or silence voices that need to be heard.

3) Title: ‘Real Boy/Real Girl’

Poets: Max Binder and Mo Crist

You’ll love this poem if you feel strongly about non-binary experiences, gender roles and gender performativity.

“Home is a body where you get to be you. No strings attached.”

Max Binder and Mo Crist bring us this deeply insightful piece that breaks down the ways in which we feel compelled to perform our gender identity and adhere to the expectations that the words ‘he’ or ‘she’ induce. It is truly a sight to behold, largely thanks to the striking choreography that accompanies its powerful message.

4) Title: ‘Pocket-Sized Feminism’

Poet: Blythe Baird

You’ll love this poem if you feel strongly about gender roles, feminism and privilege.

“They told us to be careful. To be safe. Then told our brothers to go out and play.”

This vulnerable and raw poem explores the journey towards finding your feminist voice and feeling empowered (or enraged) enough to take action. It paints a picture of the ways in which women have to tailor their lives in order to survive within a patriarchal world – and how this may make it hard to change it.

5) Title: ‘Friend Zone’

Poet: Dylan Garity

You’ll love this poem  if you feel strongly about male entitlement, consent and allyship

“You can not kill a monster unless you are willing to see it in the mirror.”

This poem makes a beautiful transition from being a comedic take on awkward adolescence to a scathing commentary about the toxic implications of the ‘Friend Zone’. The poet will bring you on a journey of self-awareness by questioning the jokes and concepts that are tossed around lightly – but lay the foundation for sexist attitudes.

6) Title: ‘Lee Mokobe: A powerful poem about what it feels like to be transgender’

Poet: Lee Mokobe

You’ll love this poem if you feel strongly about non-binary experiences, transitioning, discrimination against LGBTQ+ folx.

“I could grow up to be anything I want. I decided to be a boy.”

In this TedTalk poem, Lee Mokobe gives us an autobiographical depiction of coming out as a trans man. He reminds us, with beautiful and heart-wrenching imagery, about the discriminatory violence that non-binary people are subjected to and how this contributes to the high suicide rates amongst trans youth.

Also Read: Poetry and Self Expression


Featured image used for representational purpose only. Image source: The Conversation

This listicle is not exhaustive. Suggestions to add to this listicle are more than welcome.

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