by Ella Hendricks

The golden age of femininity,
What a time—the 50s of my mind.

The age of red lipstick,
Big, puffy skirts and shiny hair, a noose

Woven with pantyhose,
Innocence confined within white dresses, white sheets.

Home ec loomed with talks of marriage,
Of kids and how to keep a home.

How to keep a husband happy
To Be A Perfect Wife.

Whispers of Sylvia Plath
Were cradled deep in our lungs,

The questions of purpose
Stuffed inside

Away from prying eyes.
It was the golden age of femininity,

The 60s, with its flair.
Skirts got shorter and tighter,

Hair teased to the sky, the eyeliner
Thicker than the tears in our eyes.

We were made
In the style of the new goddesses—

Of bone-thin Twiggy,
Petite Priscilla, and sultry Bardot.

It was the golden age of femininity,
And yet, women were seen in lecture halls.

A new era was upon us.
No longer was the talk just

Of us and of our future homes—
Housewives chided by

Masters of our
Mere mundane lives.

We asked why.

We tore the scold’s bridle off our mouth,
Ripped the plastic smile from our face

The veil decayed, the ring tarnished,
Our Father had Nothing—No One to give away.

No longer condescended to, like a child—
We spoke out of turn,

Gossiping whispers turned to shrieks.
For the sake of Us and those around us,

Here is the new Word:
We are

Not objects, Not perfect plastic dolls to use and discard,
Not Madonna nor the whore,

We are
The same as you—

Ella Karoline Hendricks is an undergraduate student studying English and Classical Studies at the University of Arkansas. She is an avid reader and writer, finding introspection and connectivity at the core of her work.