Slam poetry is a great way to connect on social justice issues, and topics regarding women empowerment, sexism, and racism are no different. Here are 10 slam poems every woman should listen to.
1. Lily Myers with “Shrinking Women”
This poem got me into slam poetry—it’s about a family of women and their efforts to make themselves smaller (in various ways) so that the men in their lives can have more room. It’s a commentary on family trauma, beautifully written and amazingly raw.
2. Brenna Twohy with “Fantastic Breasts and Where to Find Them”
Warning: this is an explicit video. However, it segues perfectly from funny fandom erotica to critiquing the porn industry in one fell swoop.
3. Samantha Peterson with “Dead Man Can’t Catcall”
This poem is about being desirable as an overweight woman, how people speak about women’s bodies is problematic, and how it’s important to reclaim your body from the butchered metaphors of any love poem it finds itself in.
4. Sierra DeMulder with “The Tampon Poem”
This poem is hilarious, and I can’t get over the line “Bears aren’t attracted to period blood, period blood is attracted to BEARS!” Apparently a “young white poet man” wrote about going to the tampon isle for his daughter, and Sierra could not deal. We’ve probably all been there, where a man complains about buying us some pieces of cotton (if you’re tired of listening to them whine, just get the goods delivered).
5. Kait Rokowski with “How To Cure a Feminist”
This woman’s sarcasm is scathing. “Soon, when you insult her, she’ll as you to pick up the check… Lock her up like the good liqueur.” The title says it all—Kait outlines how men who want to date a feminist can slowly silence them. It’s commentary not only on the fact that most men probably cringe away when you say you’re a feminist, but it also comments on the abuses that women go through regardless of their state as a feminist; some men arguably think that women are too strong-willed without them dropping the F-word.
6. Belissa Escoloedo & Rhiannon McGavin with “Rape Joke”
This one is I-N-T-E-N-S-E: these girls rip into a ton of facets of the injustices of rape that happen after the violence occurs. From boys writing poetry about being there for rape victims to the language around sex that makes it difficult to have a healthy relationship after the fact to how it’s hard to find an older role model, these girls wrote a poem that made me snap more than once.
7. Dominique Christina with “The Period Poem”
This is another explicit one. Some boy tried to be sassy on Twitter, mentioned that he’d break up with a girl if she started her period during sex. Dominique was shown this tweet from her daughter, and was outraged—this poem is her beating that boy senseless for his ignorance. This is her battle cry again every man grossed out by periods, because it just shows their lack of respect for the type of bodies that made them.
8. Tonya Ingram with “Unsolicited Advice”
The life of black women is one that one cannot understand unless they live it—Tonya puts words to this, and does it so well. She raises her voice and attacks with it. She says, “You are resurrection, you are silence turned shotgun and death,” and she is speaking of herself while also calling out to young black girls to do the same when needed.
9. Justice Hehir with “I’m Not Buying It”
“This experience was supposed to be PINK!” Justice critiques the capitalist gains around the breast cancer awareness initiative. She looks at how companies make money off of selling pink Breast Cancer Awareness make-up, workout gear, and purses, while telling women that their pain is less than—is pink.
10. Clementine von Radics with “For Teenage Girls”
In the world, young girls have accomplished so much without being noticed or applauded. Normally, their accomplishments are even hidden away or ignored, even ridiculed. Clementine von Radics wants young women to know that they are brilliant and much more capable than they’ve ever been told they can be.