Why I’m afraid to show my shoulders

A girl
marches the gleaming streets of
Cairo, dodging the dark,
aching stares
of men with
their cocks in their hands
because the Quran
says modesty
Only applies to
the immodest

Her labias,
snipped and tucked
safely away from
dishonor,
the slope of her arms,
the curve of her collar,
hidden under the
rags that protect
society from the
Criminal that is
her body

My mother told me a girl
should never show her shoulders,
because every part
of a girl
is alluring,
and every part of a woman
is pornographic
and my shoulders are my womanly sin.
But when I do show them,

I am a walking revolution.

Mariam Fayez is an Egyptian student currently finishing up her last year at New York University. Her work has appeared in NYU’s Confluence. She enjoys having deep and sometimes uncomfortable conversations with people and trying to create content that makes them feel less alone.

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One Response to Why I’m afraid to show my shoulders

  1. The boldness of the poem in calling out the double standard of thought is to be applauded. The revolution mentioned at the end has been enacted in a number of ways and in a number of places (witness the “Arab Spring”). This is a welcome reminder and appropriate extension of fight of global gender equality.

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