Feminist Killjoy

Feminist Killjoy

Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash

Melissa, Roisin, and Sadie

Feminists have reclaimed what used to be negatively called the “feminist killjoy” and have successfully made it their own. This is most present in an article written by Sara Amhed titled “Feminist Killjoys”. She writes about the courage of feminists having their own voice and remaking unkind words into something extraordinary. She brings up countless examples of this such as, “Does the feminist kill other people’s joy by pointing out moments of sexism? Or does she expose the bad feelings that get hidden, displaced, or negated under public signs of joy”? Ahmed makes sure to point out what would be the so-called previous “norm” for feminist killjoys and then twists in into a sensible and comprehensible version that anyone could understand. She even goes as far to give sexists and racist alike a shread of agreement when she says “ Feminists do kill joy in a certain sense”. Then she rips the rug out from under everyone by saying, “they disturb the very fantasy that happiness can be found in certain places. To kill a fantasy can still kill a feeling”. Ahmed beautifully says that now what a feminist killjoy can accurately be described as is someone that kills a fantasy that has no room existing in today’s society. Ideals such as racism and sexism have the right to be stomped out by today’s “killjoys” and that is exactly the idea Sara Ahemd gives to the reader to take away from in her essay. 

To define the “Feminist Killjoy” it must first be dissected into its two terms. The Oxford English Dictionary loosely defines the act of feminism as someone who advocates for the rights and equality of women while a killjoy is said to be someone who makes an otherwise “fun” situation awkward by bringing up something how something played off as enjoyable is actually distasteful. Examples include, a woman bringing up the reality of sexual assault after a rape joke is told or a person of color explaining the disproportionate rates of police brutality when a white person says “but don’t all lives matter”. These words do not have a particular etymology, as they are so new to our vocabulary. However, the term feminist is shown to have come from an English and Latin descent, mostly from the Latin word “fēmina”. The combination of feminist and killjoy has not been commonly used in everyday speech, as shown by Google Ngram.

This is, fundamentally, what the union of “feminist” and “killjoy”  has come to mean recently. Examples of his can be seen in exquisite works of literature such as Mean by Myriam Gurba and A Raisin in the Sun by Loraine Hansberry and, as previously stated, Sara Ahmed in her article “Feminist Killjoys. All of these women have stories to tell as to how they were brought down, criticized, for noticing society’s wrongs. Feminists want to be able to create a safe space for those who have been left behind as they have been. For calling out a racist slur or a sexist joke, as this is still typical societal behavior, the feminist becomes the agressor and therefore the “feminist killjoy”. 

    The notion of feminist killjoy helps us better understand literary texts in a more complex way. In several of the novels we’ve read this year, feminism was an important theme. But in these books, characters that appear to represent feminist values are ridiculed. Although “feminist killjoy” is not used in these books, many of the narrators and characters we have read about fit under this archetype. Myriam Gurba writes in her novel Mean about being a feminist killjoy. She writes that being mean is a defense mechanism and a way to stay entertained. Additionally directing her mean ways toward boys is “a second-wave feminist duty” and closes by saying that “being a bitch is spectacular” (Gurba 17). It is not that she hates men, nor is a cruel person. Rather, in light of all the abuses women have faced at the hands of men, she feels that it is only right for women to be allowed to be mean to men. It is expected that a women be kind, even in the face of aggression and harassment. But Gurba, having been sexual assaulted herself, rejects this ideal and embraces being mean. It makes her feel empowered and counters that patriarchal notion that women need to be polite. 

In the play A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry follows a poor African-American family who must decide what to do with a life insurance check they have just received. It takes place during the 1950s. One of the members of the family, Beneatha Younger, is a young woman aspiring to go to medical school and become a doctor. The desire to be a doctor was uncommon for anyone women at the time, but especially black women, who dealt with racism and segregation on top of the sexism still prevalent at this time. She deals with sexism from her own family members. Her brother, Walter Lee, states “Ain’t many girls who decide [to become a doctor]” (36). Beneatha is able to complete the sentence, showing that this is a conversation she has had before. Walter does not outwardly condemn her for her career choice, but tries to guilt her for all the money that she will spend on medical school. But as a true feminist killjoy, she flips the script on him and tells him to leave her alone because the money is their mother’s, and “picking on [her] is not going to make her give it to [Walter] to invest in any liquor stores” (38). It’s not ladylike, and Walter is upset by it, shaking his head at his sister and wife for their lack of support before exiting the house. In this defiance, she not only stands her ground in becoming a doctor, but contradicts her brother’s own desires as he has done to hers. Here Walter shows us the typical view of women at the time, and what he hopes Beneatha will end up doing. Beneatha proves to be a feminist killjoy by not doing what her family hopes for her and instead pursuing a tough and expensive path. 

Another reason that Beneatha is a feminist killjoy is due to her rejection of typical social norms such as marriage and domestic life. Other characters in the story, including Walter’s wife Ruth and one of Beneatha’s suitors express a desire for her to marry and settle down, as women were supposed to. Beneatha tells Ruth “Listen, I’m going to be a doctor. I’m not worried about who I’m going to marry yet – if I ever get married” (Hansberry 50). She tells her suitor, Asagai, that he “never understood that there is more than one kind of feeling that can exist between a man and a woman- or at least, there should be” (Hansberry 63). Asagai disagrees, saying that “there need only be one type of feeling” (Hansberry 63). Beneatha tells him that it is not enough for her, even though he says that “for a woman it should be enough” (Hansberry 63). In these scenes, Beneatha rejects the role she is supposed to play in this time and place. She is supposed to get married and be content with a domestic life. That is what her family, and her prospective husbands want for her. Even though it will make her life harder and disappoint people, Beneatha continues to fight for what she believes in and what she wants to do, effectively proving herself a feminist killjoy. 

In reading A Raisin in the Sun and “Mean” with the idea of a feminist killjoy in mind, it gives these moments more importance, makes them a celebration of strong women. Though it is discouraging that people try to shame women for their ambitions and personalities, when we classify these women as feminist killjoys, we see how they take back their power. They claim their killjoy title and take pride in it, as Ahmed does with her essay. Being a bitch is being a powerful woman. Being a feminist killjoy is being a woman who is unapologetic about what she wants. 

Works Cited

Ahmed, Sara. “Feminist Killjoys (And Other Willful Subjects).” S&F Online, issue 8.3, 2010,

http://sfonline.barnard.edu/polyphonic/print_ahmed.htm. Accessed 28 November 2019.

“feminist, adj. and n.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, December 2019,

www.oed.com/view/Entry/69193. Accessed 5 December 2019.

Gurba, Myriam. Mean. Coffee House Press, 2017.

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. Vintage Books, 2004.

“kill-joy, n. and adj.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, December 2019, 

www.oed.com/view/Entry/103385. Accessed 5 December 2019.

Schwarz, Claudio. resist feminist text. 1800. Unsplash. https://unsplash.com/photos/xg79IrCrSA8

Histories Many Roles Within Mean

In Myriam Gurba’s memoir, Mean, the idea of history comes to play throughout and is used in many different ways. From the first time someone reads this book the reader is able to understand that history is an important concept and that as they continue to read it just becomes clearer. History takes on many different roles within this memoir and they all are able to give us a better understanding of Gurba as she was growing up. 

History makes its first appearance when we are told that it is a memoir, which according to the Oxford English Dictionary is “records of events or history written from personal knowledge or experience of the writer, or based on special sources of information.” So we already know that this is Myriam Gurba’s life and history, these are the events that happened to her and things that shaped her to be who she is now. We are able to see history through Gurba’s eyes and get a deeper understanding of her life. 

Gurba also uses history to show a bit of irony within her life. Throughout her time in college, Gurba took at least one history class every semester. This is ironic due to the fact that Gurba had been molested in her history class and had nothing but terrible memories from history class. Gurba says “Yeah history class was where I got molested. Nonetheless, I couldn’t stop taking history classes. I really loved history” (150). Even Gurba knows that this is ironic and crazy that she liked these classes considering her past experiences that are associated with history class. But by taking these classes it is as if she’s showing that you can overcome these experiences that change you and then turn them into something that you can make a better outcome from. By overcoming her molestation she was able to turn something that she loved and make it a career.  

Gurba then goes on to tell us that she had graduated with a history degree and then went on to become a history teacher. I find this to be ironic as well considering her past that she has with her history teacher, Mr. Hand. Mr. Hand had known about Gurba being molested in his class but pretended that he hadn’t seen it and chose to do nothing about it. This is shown when she says “Unable to look into a girl’s eyes or soul while she was being molested, something all teachers should be prepared to confront, Mr. Hand snapped his eyes back to the worksheet he’d been grading” (30). Gurba is disappointed in Mr. Hand due to that fact that he couldn’t do something that all teachers should be able to do and that is to stop something from happening when it shouldn’t be. When she states “all teachers should be prepared to confront” she is personally calling him out for being a terrible teacher and showing that what he did should not happen with in any school. Gurba is showing that she can and will be better when she becomes a teacher and that no child should have to go through what she went through.

History is also an important part within the memoir because Gurba goes out of her was to show how history repeats itself. Sometimes in obvious ways and sometimes in more subtle, deeper ways. One time we see this is when Gurba is at a strip club in San Francisco and she says “The stripper was me and I was him. I was reenacting the history of the moment after the art museum from a different perspective” (151). The moment that she is talking about in this quote is when she was raped in an alley after she had left the art museum. She says that she is reenacting the event from a different perspective. She sees the interaction between her and the stripper as almost a parallel to the interaction between her and the man that raped her. This is a way of history repeating itself because Gurba is able to make connections between these two different interactions. She sees how it is so similar to something she had previously gone through.

Another way that history repeats itself is when it comes to how other people are seen by the public. After she was raped, Gurba chose not to testify against her attacker due to the fact that “I’d be that girl that got raped by that cholo just like the boys Mr. Osmond fucked are still referred to as the boys Mr. Osmond fucked” (140). She saw what happened to these boys and was afraid that if she was to publicly say that this had happened to her then no one would be able to look at her the same. They would only see the fact that she was raped. This can also connect to Sophia being called a transient in all of the news articles. No one ever called her by her name and this ended up belittling the incident and making her seem like she was less than human. Gurba also didn’t want that, she didn’t want to feel less than human because of what this man had done to her. By not testifying she is not giving history a chance to repeat itself, she is not allowing herself to become what others before her have. 

Discussion Questions:
1. Why do you think Gurba choses to connect history in different ways within her memoir?

2. When reading Mean how did you see the irony behind Gurba’s choice to major and pursue a career in history?

Work Cited

Gurba, Myriam. Mean. Coffee House Press, 2017.

The Way Ghosts Can Tell A Story: By Michael Wentling-Raymie

            In Myriam Gruba’s memoir, Mean, there is a similarity in section to another section in the memoir, The Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston. In Gruba’s Mean, when she goes to San Francisco to visit the art exhibit of Hannah Wilke, she realizes she is dead and then starts describing how she thinks Wilke was like. She uses the word maybe while describing Wilke, she says “Maybe Wilke called this series Intra-Venus because she found Eros in dying”(Gruba 84). Later on she writes “There is Hannah ( I feel I can call her by her first name because of what she’s shown me)”(Gruba 84). She then finishes this scene talking about how she feels connected to Wilke because of her art, she feels a similarity to a ghost. She believes that Hannah Wilke is like her and “was modeling how to be me for me”(Gruba 85).

            In Rankine’s The Woman Warrior, Rankine also does this comparison and starts describing how she believes her aunt’s life was like. Rankine first learns of the story from her mother of her fathers sister, a ghost, the one who “never existed.” She uses synonyms to the word maybe to demonstrate that these are her own thoughts on how she believed her aunts life was like. Rankine writes “Perhaps she had encountered him in the fields…”(Kingston 6), “She may have been unusually beloved…”(Kingston 10), and “He may have been somebody in her own household”(Kingston 11). These words and phrases demonstrate that these are not concrete facts about her aunt, these are just her thoughts and ideas about her aunt’s life based on how her life has gone and her personal experiences. She personally connects herself to this ghost, her aunt, and uses this to create a story that she can accept as how her life was.

            This connection between the two books is important because they are two different memoirs that are about themselves that use someone that is dead as a way to compare and find themselves. These ghosts allow the reader to see how the authors mind works, and how the author thinks about themselves by reading what they believe these ghost’s lives were like. If we look at their descriptions of these people we can see the authors personal experiences in life through their descriptions, like when Gruba is talking about Wilkes creative process and how she came up with the name and ideas for her art she uses her personal thoughts and logic and it influences how she thinks this person she has never met was like and how she lived. Rankine also does this by basing how her aunt, who was shamed into killing herself by the villagers, lived in the Chinese society. Rankine uses what her parents taught her and her experience with Chinese culture to formulate a story.

            The author’s use of personal experiences to describe ghosts allows us to see more into their life and learn more about them. It makes us have to also interpret their lives instead of them the just coming out and telling us things about them, it shows us who they are without them telling us who they are.

            In Gruba’s case it shows us that she likes art and that it connects her to something. It helps her find herself and express herself. When she says that Wilkes helped show her how to be herself without ever meeting her shows that art has a strong impact in her life. She says that she feels connected and close to Wilke because of what she has seen in her art, she believes that all of Wilke’s art is teaching her a lesson.

Discussion Questions:

1. How do you think an author’s personal experiences factor into how they describe ghosts?

2. What does Gruba’s ideas of what Hannah Wilke was like tell you about her?

Works Cited:

Gruba, Myriam. Mean

Kingston, Maxine. The Woman Warrior

Mean. Does it make you feel better? Are you stronger now?

Myriam Gurba’s memoir, Mean, focuses on the childhood and adolescent years of Gurba’s life, where she has to deal with growing up in California as a mixed-raced Chicana surrounded by a population of white people, and being queer. Gurba faces a lot of racism and misogyny throughout her teenage years and over the course of learns how to “be mean”.

“Being mean” is something that had heavily impacted Gurba growing up. She was always treated differently due to her race whether it was in School or in her community. 

She always knew she was Mexican, but she didn’t think she was much different from other people til people started referring to her as a “Mexican”. This can be seen in the beginning of the novel when Myriam has with Emily’s family while her mother has complications giving birth. Myriam asks Emily’s mother what they’re having for dinner and she answers with, “Since you’re visiting, Mexican.” (5)

Myriam thinks that her mom will cook up a storm of all of these traditional delicious Mexican cousine meals, whilst instead she makes a Mexican casserole out of basic American ingredients.

This small example demonstrates how at such a young age, Myriam is already facing racism, and she doesn’t know how to react. On the next page she even adds “There was nothing Mexican about it.” (6)

Americans today even stereotype Mexican cousine to be Taco Bell, however, for a child at a young age to subjected to being called “a Mexican” and making a half-fast Mexican-American meal because that is someone’s ethnicity is extremely damaging to any child.  

This incident sparked and inspired Myriam to become a stronger person and fight back against this racism with the strength she gained from being mean.

At an early age, Gurba learned that it was ok to be mean. It was how she was going to survive in this world.

She learned from this incident that there is evil in this world, and the only way to truly fight back is to treat people the same way they treat you… only 10x harder.

In the next short story from her memoir, The Problem of Evil, Gurba asks her father “Why does evil exist?”, and he answers with “Myriam, think of how boring life would be if nothing bad ever happened?” (16)

Although this probably wasn’t Myriam’s father’s intentions, these words gave her permission to be mean. Gurba expresses on the next page how “we act mean to defend ourselves”, and later exclaims how “It’s best practiced by those who understand it as an art form.” (17)

One incident and the people around us affect us act a young age. If it wasn’t for the people that surrounded Myriam, she wouldn’t have been exposed to racism at such a young age, and I don’t think she would’ve been able to know how to stand up for herself as well as others, if she didn’t have this experience.

However, being mean changed Myriam at a young age, and in many ways led her to be act cruel and senseless towards other people. 

It seemed as if she was looking for a sort of vengeance towards the white people who had wronged her in the past and present. An example of this can be seen, when she exclaims, “I hoped Steve would injure himself and die so that I wouldn’t have to let him into my club. That had been my strategy. To give his sex an insurmountable initiation. Like the literacy test given to black folks in the American South before the Voting Rights Act passed.” (15)

Despite the fact that Gurba had been wronged and treated poorly by those around her, she was acting cruel towards other people who hadn’t wronged her. 

She wasn’t defending herself or anyone else.

So what fun could she have really had?

Discusson Questions:

  1. Do you think if Myriam had lived in another city or state, she would’ve had a different childhood experience? Do you think she would still be mean?
  2. How can such a small incident impact a child to question the world around them, and change their perspectives on life? 

Work cited:

Gurba, Myriam. Mean

Climate Change

For my poem, I chose an article from National Geographic about climate change. This article was about climate change around the world and how it has been and will continue to affect us. I chose this article for my found poem because the topic of climate change gets me anxious and I worry about the future, especially for my family and future family. When I read the article, it continues to upset me because there is not much we can do to reverse the damages. This article helped to put into perspective the amount of change that has occurred and how much the climate will continue to change.

When writing this poem I felt that cutting words was the most effective. The way I structured it was to put emphasis on words and phrases that were heavily discussed and most impactful from the article. I grouped the most common words and phrases that were repeated throughout the article together. Those seemed to jump out me as I was reading becase they were repeated so many times. I then spread the words and phrases out on the right side of the page because to me it felt as if those words and phrases were scattered like that when I was reading the article.

I really enjoyed doing this type of poetry. It is different and shows how each person thinks differently. It also shows creativity.

-Jordyn Ferguson

Backhanded compliments

My found poem is made up of multiple quotes found from the instagram page @catcallsofnyc. There is an artist who writes on the streets of NYC, in chalk, the sexual comments made to women. The quotes can be nauseating and heartbreaking having most of them being made to young girls. My method was to pick out some of the quotes that really hit me. I spaced them out and grouped certain quotes next to each other because I felt they had similar meanings. The quotes on the page are all backhanded compliments. The last line was a comment made on one of the posts that I felt I needed to include. It goes to show that men think it’s ok to yell at women if they compliment them. But these comments cause nothing but discomfort and sometimes fear. In a group or even with a parent girls are being singled out and yelled at by men in vile ways. No matter the age, girls will be cursed at and sexualized. Reading this hurt my heart. live near the city and have had many altercations like these but sometimes I can still be astonished by what is said. The woman who experienced these interactions also included the story behind it which I didn’t include. The stories they told were almost all the same. After getting cat called the women are often saddened and feel almost violated. Some altercations give me shivers or women being grabbed while just walking down the street. Men have this expectation that women owe them something after being complimented. Having it so women can’t walk down the straight without the fear of getting verbally harassed. 

Is rape to die for? -Sadie Royce

Artist statement:

To explain the title before anything else because it sounds a bit wrong, the article I made my found poem from discussed if the crime rape was worthy of being punished with the death penalty. Most cases that have been punished with the death penalty have been child rape though. I chose this as the topic for my found poem because many rapists today are faced with unfitting sentences most of the time and, in my opinion, tend to not be rightly punished. Five have been actually killed through the death penalty but for child rape. The Supreme Court ruled that it was not a proportionate crime for the rape of an adult woman which was particularly irritating. I’m not completely sure where I stand due to things like wrongful convictions and whatnot but it is still a very intimate topic to me at least. Especially in today’s age where women tend to be ignored anyway. The article even talks about a prejudice jury pool. I mean it is hard to not have a preset notion for a sexual offense case so I can’t blame people for that. The downside is that it leads to more guilty verdicts and obviously more death sentences which is what the last three lines are in reference to. Hope it makes sense to you!

The Great Escape

For my found poem I decided to chose a song that I usually listen to if I’m feeling a bit down or just want to forget about something. The song’s title ‘The Great Escape’ represents this because sometimes people just need an escape from something that might be holding them back in life. I started off my poem by whiting-out most of the words on the first page because as I’m listening to the song, the thoughts in my mind begin to commemorate or look back on the reason why I’m listening to the song, whether it be a bad day in general or something tragic that just happened. Going off of this, my thoughts tend to be negative when first listening to the song as it gets me thinking, “Why me?” or “Could I have changed this?”, which is why most of the words on the first page tend to be mostly negative. An example of some of these negative words are, “goodbye”, “cry”, “scream”, etc…. As the song continues, more words start to appear on the page, as my mind begins to calm itself down just by listening to the lyrics. For example, on the second page I left the words, “left behind” as this is when I tell myself to leave behind all those emotions and think of a positive alternative. Finally, I decided to leave the last page of the song untouched because as the song begins to finish its last verse, this is when my mind makes that ‘great escape’ and pushes back all those negative emotions and thoughts that would normally circulate my mind. I also really love the last line of the song which is, “Cause we are finally free tonight”, showing how that escape might not be as easy for some people and could take some time to truly accept what happened, hence the “finally”.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”… but not rapey Jessica Schaechinger

Original Lyrics:

I really can’t stay (but baby, it’s cold outside) I’ve got to go away (but baby, it’s cold outside)

This evening has been (been hoping that you’d drop in)

So very nice (i’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice)

My mother will start to worry (beautiful what’s your hurry?)

My father will be pacing the floor (listen to the fireplace roar)

So really I’d better scurry (beautiful please don’t hurry)

But maybe just a half a drink more (put some records on while I pour)

The neighbors might think (baby, it’s bad out there)

Say what’s in this drink? (no cabs to be had out there)

I wish I knew how (your eyes are like starlight now)

To break this spell (i’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell)

I ought to say, no, no, no sir (mind if I move in closer?)

At least I’m gonna say that I tried (what’s the sense in hurtin’ my pride?)

I really can’t stay (oh baby don’t hold out)

But baby, it’s cold outside

I simply must go (but baby, it’s cold outside)

The answer is no (but baby, it’s cold outside)

Your welcome has been(how lucky that you dropped in)

So nice and warm (look out the window at this dawn)

My sister will be suspicious (gosh your lips look delicious)

My brother will be there at the door (waves upon the tropical shore)

My maiden aunts mind is vicious (gosh your lips are delicious)

But maybe just a cigarette more (never such a blizzard before)

I’ve gotta get home(but baby, you’d freeze out there)

Say lend me a coat(it’s up to your knees out there)

You’ve really been grand (i thrill when you touch my hand)

But don’t you see? (how can you do this thing to me?)

There’s bound to be talk tomorrow (think of my lifelong sorrow)

At least there will be plenty implied (if you got pnuemonia and died)

I really can’t stay (get over that old out)

Baby, it’s cold

Baby, it’s cold outside

Found Poem:

I really can’t stay, I’ve got to go away. 

This evening has been, so very nice.                                                     Beautiful, you hurry home

My father will be pacing the floor, so really I’d better scurry

 Beautiful please do hurry

But maybe just a half a drink more

Beautiful, you hurry home, it’s bad out there

But baby, it’s cold out there

   You simply must go, I’ll get you a cab.  You’d freeze out there, I’ll lend you a coat

You’ve really been grand, I’ll see you and talk tomorrow

Artist’s Statement:

For my found poem, I used the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. This song has always made me feel uncomfortable, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized it was a song about sexual assault. Just for a brief understanding, this song is about a girl, who seems to be young, mentioning her parents; with a man. As she tells him she must get home, he tries to convince her to stay by stating that it is cold outside, offering her more to drink, possibly drugging the drink, and kissing her. I cut a lot from this song, mainly the male’s parts, to try and make this song about a girl who must go home, and a man agreeing, and helping her out. I rearranged some of the words in order to form completely new lines for the man to show that he is trying to get the girl home. For the women’s perspective, seeing how in the original song she was drunk and he was convincing her to stay, I decided to have the women complain about the cold, but show the man doing the responsible and respectful thing by calling her a cab to get her home. The spacing I used was to differentiate the speaker, alternating between the male and female. I thought that it was very important to keep two speakers in this poem because it shows diversity in the language and still keeps a storytelling base. As I was working on the poem, all I was thinking is how creepy the original artist was, and just how I could change this to make it more of a lesson, showing what the right thing to do in that situation would be. I learned from this that when taking words in context, if you don’t like what it says, then change the context

Animal Behavior. Found Poem: Isabelle Pastore

Shortened version of Maroon 5- “Animals”

“Baby I’m preying on you tonight

Hunt you down eat you alive

Just like animals

Animals

Like animals-mals

Maybe you think that you can hide

I can smell your scent for miles

Just like animals

Animals

Like animals-mals

Baby I’m

Yeah you can start over you can run free

You can find other fish in the sea

You can pretend it’s meant to be

But you can’t stay away from me

I can still hear you making that sound

Taking me down rolling on the ground

You can pretend that it was me

But no, oh

But you can’t stay away from me

I can still hear you making that sound

Taking me down rolling on the ground

You can pretend that it was me

But no, oh

Yo,

Whoa

Don’t tell no lie, lie lie lie

You can’t deny, ny ny ny

The beast inside, side side side

Yeah yeah yeah

No girl don’t lie, lie lie lie (No girl don’t lie)

You can’t deny, ny ny ny (You can’t deny)

The beast inside, side side side

Yeah yeah yeah”

(End of shortened Maroon 5 song, “Animals”)

My Found Poem:

I’m preying on you tonight

Hunt you down. Just like animals 

animals-mals.

You think that you can hide?

I can smell your scent

for miles. 

You can run free, but you cant stay away from me.

You cant deny the beast inside.

No.

Oh,

Just like animals

Animals animals-mals. 

(End of original found poem)


My Artist’s Statement: Found Poem

Isabelle Pastore

I chose to create my found poem using a song by Maroon 5 that is about 5-6 years old. The song is called “Animals”. I remember when this song came out and I would listen to it all the time because I loved Maroon 5. The meaning behind the song is mostly inappropriate, so I’m not sure why I was listening to it 6 years ago. Recently, I heard the song again and I interpreted the lyrics differently than I did when I was younger. Instead of hearing a fun and meaningless song like I used to, I heard a song that was very disrespectful towards women. The lyrics imply that women are similar to objects or prey that can be hunted, caught, and/or shown off like a trophy. 

In the lines of “Animals”, the singer professes that the woman can’t hide because he can smell her scent for miles. Instead of aimlessly listening, I began to analyze the lyrics of the song. 

Obviously, this is some sort of game to the speaker and he claims he will find this woman no matter where she goes. She is a challenge, she is a game, and she is his trophy. As a listener, I am unsure if the woman enjoys this behavior or if she’s just being stalked. The lyrics not only objectify women, but they also imply that men are dominant and women are to be “found” or “captured”, and essentially just treated like animals; hence the song’s title. 

To physically create my found poem, I chose the most descriptive and important words from the song’s lyrics. I picked the words that I thought represented extreme masculinity and objectification. For example, I chose to include the word, “beast”. Nothing shows hypermasculinity more than a man calling himself a beast. The speaker is telling the woman that she cannot stay away from him, proving that he will not give up until he finds her. He constantly compares her to an animal and declares his supposed dominance over her. Again, we are unsure of her involvement in this clearly toxic relationship. While I worked on my poem, I felt relieved that I was able to analyze and understand the meaning behind this song. My thoughts may not be correct, but that’s why they are thoughts. We are meant to wonder, imagine, and learn from our mistakes. I took a song from my past and let myself interpret it the way I would now. During this activity, I learned that I enjoy doing things like this. I enjoy picking apart literature and sharing my own ideas. This will help me see literature, language, and “Zong!” in a clearer way because I will take the time to understand what I’m reading. I can now find more interest in learning more about this creative, philosophical, and intriguing writing that I enjoy so much. I hope that I can do more activities like this in the future.

Works Cited.

https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107859489233/

(2014) “Animals” by Maroon 5