I Swallow My Tears

2017

If, while baba was beating me, I cried, he’d hit me again for crying.
“If you cry, you’ll get hit. Men don’t cry”, he’d tell me.
Whenever he beat me, my main concern was to not cry.

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Men Don’t Have It Easy Either

2012

We might see things differently,
But the guy on the outside sees my sister, my mother, and my fiance as mere “females”.
A body, a hole to fill, a corpse, a mattress,
A ride, a bang, a screw, a fuck,
A piece of meat everyone wants to tear into with their teeth

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A Muslim Woman

2006

I’m passive, weak, uneducated.
Veiled from head to toe.
One of his four wives.
Work in the kitchen all day.
And spread my legs wide at night.
That’s what you think, right?

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Can’t Stand This World Anymore

2019

I’m a boy.
I’m not fat, but I have man boobs.
I come from the countryside, and the first thing people notice are my boobs.
I get comments by everyone on the streets, in classes, and at school.
body image, bullying, masculinity

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The Bus Stop

2015

At the bus stop,
The driver didn’t have available seats in the front, so we decided to look for another bus.
The drivers kept sending us back and forth between one another, and one of them was unnecessarily rude.
“I won’t let you get on any bus!” he told us.

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There’s No Such Thing as a “Man’s Honor”

2017

Growing up, I was taught that girls were responsible for preserving their honor.
I, as a man, have nothing to do with it.
My mother never brought up the word “honor” around me or my brother.

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Perks of Being a Girl

2015

Two days ago I went to get train tickets
I was standing in queue behind five people
5 minutes later, the five became nine
Five sweet girls came, and they went straight to the booth,
As if no one is standing
Everyone played stupid and didn’t say anything.

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Skinny

2019

I’m thin,
I don’t have any muscles or abs.
I was okay with that, to an extent, in the beginning,
Because my body hadn’t fully developed yet,
Or basically, because I hadn’t decided to go the gym yet.
body image, bullying, masculinity

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The Rules of Manhood

2016

I have to sit a certain way, I can't move my hands when I speak.
I can't cry around people, and if someone hits me, I have to hit them back. These are just a few examples of things I should do if I want "to be a man."
I’m still going to be myself, no matter how much this costs me and no matter how many times people tell me that I'm "not a man."

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Remembering the Details

2016

I remember the pushing,
The kicking,
And the yelling.
I remember every time I said no,
And how he continued anyway.
At times,
I felt as if I were transforming into a pillow,
By the way he’d close his eyes,
And forget that I was even there.
It killed me.
gender violence; sexual violence; rape; masculinity; sex; sexuality

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