Bodies, for we are only women

Like a ritual of daily self-sacrifice,
we step onto a metal box,
waiting breathlessly for a determination of worth.
We weigh our food as we weigh ourselves,
searching desperately for the illusion of control,
of power ...
for we are only women.

We exercise obsessively, feeling more guilty
than lethargic if we miss a day at the gym.
Strangely, we do not grow stronger
through this oddly entrancing routine,
but weaker.
Success is measured not in growing muscles,
but in shrinking stature ...
for we are only women.

And it occurs to me that patriarchy fears
women's bodies at full strength.
We terrify patriarchy, so it must keep us
dieting, keep us malnourished and paranoid. To keep us
manageable ...
they must tell us we are only women.

But I must wonder where my radical feminism is
when I take pleasure in my ever-decreasing size,
knowing it is owed not to improved health,
but to worsened eating habits.
And I must shake my head at my own hypocrisy,
as I write this down, skipping breakfast again ...
for I am only a woman.

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