Because you are a man

I heard about you yesterday, on my television set
Described with words and pictures illuminating your threat
I read about your nature: your desires and your lusts
And I knew right away, you were a breed I could not trust.

You see, alone I am powerful, strong and confident
But then when you come near I begin to lose all common sense.
Whether you’re white, yellow, brown or tan
I am the prey, because you are a man.

Last week I sat beside you at a stop and felt scared
All you did was wait but I still felt impaired
All you did was sit and look to your feet.
But my fear replaced fair judgment and told my body to retreat.

My fears like my passions have become unbridled deep inside
Because they are founded not in reality but in falsities and lies
In what cannot be known, or what has not been seen
And so now when I see you I begin ripping at the seams.

I am the victim, that is my fate
But yours is to target, to scheme and to wait
Wherever you’re from, whatever your plan
I am still the prey, because you are a man.

You claim you are misjudged, and you often debate
That my state of victim is nurtured, not innate
That it is I and not you who has made a mistake
And that nobility and not aggression, is your natural state.

But then why do papers and broadcasts tell me that you’re wrong?
Why when going home alone am I constantly warned?
Why does history describe you as oppressive and inhumane?
That my innocence and vulnerability you are determined to profane.

I’ll never stop to question
Whether I have misunderstood
My fears will persist against reason
Just as flames blaze away wood.

I will continue to steal away your liberty
And make judgements rooted in fears
And so you will play your designated role
Being perceived as man and not as soul.

And so whether friendly or distant
Strong or frail
You are a predator,
Because you are a male.

Comments on “Because you are a man”:

nassim says:
8 Jan 2011, 16:23

this is poignant, because it's so true of the experience of so way or another. I see myself acting like the person in this poem sometimes. Reading it, I can't help imagine that if we can't perceive the concept of one soul when we interact with a person before they become our partner in life, then how can we continue to do so when we are joined together forever, if it is still creeping in our mind? how does it act on the way that we raise our children? how do we balance being cautious and wise, and being open and loving, because the person next to us is also a human, with their own history and experience? how do we make sure not to be prejudiced? if our natural reactions in human interactions are based on our past experiences, how do we not make those experiences what define our relationship to a gender, or race, or class?

Natasha says:
11 Jan 2011, 14:12

I really appreciate the poem and the subsequent questions raised as they have helped me understand certain contradictions in my own thinking and common thought patterns in the culture in which I live. I have observed that often parents in their desire to help their daughters understand the need to be cautious with men, describe men in a way that is not true to their nature, making them to be monsters rather than helping them to understand the negative forces that are acting on both men and women, that require cautiousness in many circumstances. On the other hand, there is also a very powerful attitude of not wanting to "judge people" and I have seen that this attitude results in naivete on the part of many women.

Natasha says:
11 Jan 2011, 14:12

Sorry I meant caution rather than "cautiousness"

th says:
11 Jan 2011, 18:32

i just started reading the most recent posts on this blog (i'm new to natureofus) and i found myself drawn to this post mostly because it was a poem. i doubt i would've read more than the first paragraph if it were short article on the same topic! has anyone else experienced that? is there a particular reason for it?