Free Her

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

 

So,

 

Free her

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.”

 

Free her

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.”

 

Free her

For she is consoled by the male cop-out

Indulging the patriarchy that states infidelity means manhood

“Men will always be men.”

 

Free her

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

 

Free her

Authored by Suma Massaley

Featured picture by Jazz Keyes

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