Whitlam Institute

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

What Matters 2019 Shortlist

Six Progressive Responses to Feminism

Six Progressive Responses to Feminism

Emily Duff

Year 12, Asquith Girls High School


Me too is a movement fighting against sexual abuse.



Fighting for the right to not be abused.

Fighting for the definition of the word “no”

To not only be recognised but




I don't think it's hard to explain

That no woman should have to complain

Because she has been touched in disdain

Count my words like a Mark of Cain

You will only ever pay penance for your crimes

Seek redemption for the coldness in her eyes

An insignificant orchid flower she has been cultivated all her life

By men



Kept in a sanctuary to grow

Until she was sold

To the first man who came along

He grabs her and makes her into a bouquet

Or a corsage

Or anything he desires

Flowers are too delicate to fight back

The stems are all too easy to bend to his will


It is a disgrace how base the beginning of these issues are

It is the teenage boy who thinks it's funny to touch her “there”

How does he dare

Get a laugh from his mates and a clap on the back

As though he's done a job well

Is this the type of behaviour we favour?


I can feel it poisoning us

I think now I've always felt it poisoning us

Our society

Brothers, fathers, uncles

Gaining muscles

To wear as a protective suit

Like they wish they were made out of kevlar

Spending more time at the gym than with the family

The water they drink a different type to ours as their's tells them to keep in the tears

Have no issues they whisper

Your wife is the one who should be crying

Your suit of muscle I assure will turn into concrete

You will wonder why you do not move


Giving women flowers is like giving them a reminder of the value of their beauty

The value of her body

How many metaphors exist comparing the curves of out figures with flowers and stems and other pieces of beauty

Yes we are beautiful, but I am nothing like a flower

I will not be fragile, infringed upon or flattered into forgetfulness.    


Please, I deplore you

Understand that this poem is not meant to man hate

It is meant to educate

This topic is no longer up for debate

End violence against women

End gun violence

End violence

End this society founded on toxic masculinity

End this culture that says a man must always have the upper hand

The upper hand of punishment

The upper hand to be brought down against another

Men please,

Start crying

It is more than fine for you to feel

To say that you are not okay

Feeling is what makes us human

You are not obliged to feed into our toxic stereotypes of this bigoted society.

Let your tears grace your chest

And like the great flood

We can start afresh



They will wash away the years

of prejudice