They Mock You

This is a poem about how the girl child is shrivelled to fit society's expectations. She is raised with a narrow perception of self; She's expected to have a certain nature and behave in a certain way and this expectation shapes the way she sees herself. And then the same society, being patriarchal as it is, mocks her for being what it has made of her. Growing up in Northern Nigeria, I see the girl child mocked by men about almost everything; the way she thinks, the way she walks, her abilities, her fears, etc, forgetting that she is the product of certain peculiarities of that society and she is capable of so much more outside of it.


First they clip your wings

Taking away your ability to fly 

To soar high and reach for the clouds

Grounded on land,

They have you where they want you

Depending on them for tales of the sky

For crumbs of cloud 

And then they mock you 

"She's a deadbeat", they say

And you are

But who made you so? 


Then they strip you of your complexity

Chiselling away, bit by bit

With their expectations

Casting away your many facets

Your layers, your dignity

Until they've cut you to size

Until all they have left is femininity 

Their femininity

Their image of it

Then they clothe you in shame

Crowned by limitations,

They declare you queen

A queen they mock

"She's so weak and incapable"

And indeed you are

But who made you so? 

I'm Jamila Mustapha, a multi-passionate entrepreneur; writer, poet, freelance translator and a Divi web designer.

Instagram: @jamilamustaphaa

Twitter: @jemymustapha