As he walks the streets of Monrovia,
He frequently sees young girls trapped in poverty
He sees many promising futures going to waste
So, he asked me
Why do young Liberian girls lack ambitions?
Why don’t they aspire to reach for the sky?
Why don’t they see themselves as part of the solution?
Why are they okay with selling their bodies?
Are they okay with being second-class citizens?
So, I tell him
Wait, don’t let her lack of power fool you
Don’t you know she is trapped?
Trapped in the prison which is the culture
The culture that badges women with second-class citizenship?
Wait, don’t you dare judge the boldness out of her
Don’t you know that she is told to be second to men
That she grew up in flaming harsh realities,
Oppressive norms restricting women’s lives to nothing but subservience
Wait, don’t you dare proceed to call her lazy
Don’t you know that her childhood revolved around ‘papa provides, mama cares.’
That she grew up to esteem men as her provider
Inequality engrained in households, trapping her freedom
For she accepts the excuse, “men are never wrong.”
For she believes domestic violence should be prevalent in homes
Papa abuses mama and grandma cheers, “it’s okay, he’s your husband.”
For she is empowered to be idle in the face of injustice
Inevitably equating traditions to maltreatment
“Be a good woman, don’t retaliate when he abuses you.”
For she is consoled by the male cop-out
Indulging the patriarchy that states infidelity means manhood
“Men will always be men.”
For gender biases discourage her ambitions
Social constructive roles oppress her
So, before you ask
“Why can’t women aspire to be more”
I say, destroy the culture prison
Authored by Suma Massaley
Featured picture by Jazz Keyes