Rejoice in the Body Positive
A Spoken Word Poem
Jennifer Angelina Petro
I do not wear makeup to cover him,
I wear make up to honor her.
My makeup isn’t done on a walking cadaver,
My makeup is done on a living, breathing, woman.
I do not wear makeup to impress you or to make you think that I need it to be beautiful–
I am beautiful and I choose to wear makeup because it’s fun—
It’s part of my life I never got to explore
And it’s fun. I get to be a teenager in a way I never was able to until now,
And I love it. My body is a canvas to play upon.
And I rejoice in the body positive.
I do not wear makeup or shave my face or legs or chest to conform
To anyone’s misguided standards of what it is to be a woman,
I do these things because I like to—I love the smooth feeling of newly shaved legs,
I love to run my hands over my hairless breasts,
I love a smooth face—much easier for makeup application—but don’t think
For a second I do any of this for you, or to pretend to be a her that I’m not,
I do not do this to hide him–
He, like it or not, is still with me. He
Is my most faithful friend.
I do not hate him—
He is alive and well, informing this beauty with all he’s got,
And yes, this beauty is mine. And I rejoice in the body positive.
This hair on my face, chest, legs, arms—it’s all there
For a reason. He did not sprout it to torture me, and I refuse to be laden
With the damp shawls of self-hate any longer. I rejoice in the body positive.
This form, this face—it’s all me—so what it may not
Blurt out “woman” to your ideas of what a woman is or should be—this beauty is mine,
This body is mine and, much to the chagrin of those scared radical femmes,
It is every bit a woman as theirs’.
So what if my life as a woman disturbs you, or my weight or my shoulders,
My big hands or my jowls—this beauty is mine,
I cannot stop you from living in your lies of how a woman should look or dress or shave,
This beauty is mine—these hands, this face, these breasts—
This beauty is mine–
And I rejoice in the body positive
For hairy women rock—all women rock.
I shave out of choice not enslavement to you—not to tame the wildness–
And some days I don’t shave, some days I do not wear makeup
And the world does not come to an end.
I do not shave or wear makeup to hide the earthiness of the body.
I do not do these things to hide the way I was born.
I do them out of my own sense of myself and how I want to look.
If I grow a fucking beard again, it would in no way negate
My womanhood. This is the body I have. I could fight it,
Hate it, and condemn myself to death while still living in it,
And for what?
Today I choose to rejoice in the body positive—
These breasts, this penis, these hairs on my arms, this heart—it’s all beautiful—
And if I want to shave I shave, if I wear makeup I wear makeup,
If I wear a dress that flows like liquid wind
Or jeans and a t-shirt—–it needn’t matter to you—
I rejoice in the body positive—and send the joy of who I am
Resounding through the mindless traditions—-shattering the paradigms of what beauty is
Of what womanhood is, of what manhood is—-Come! Let’s tear off all the hoods—
And rejoice in the body positive.
Gendered clothing, facial hair,
Makeup, body parts—it’s all preposterously silly—
Free the nipple, free the vagina, free the penis,
Free the chub, free the skin and bone model starving to death,
Free it all from the constraints of fear-based, shame-based, hate-based,
Lie-based, money-based, lust-based, greed-based, power-based,
Ignorant-based, bigoted-based, false-masculine-based, false-feminine-based,
Deep shadow-based BULLSHIT—
And yes, the world will come crashing down—so be it–
Sometimes the temple needs to be destroyed
So that a real sanctuary can be built—a sanctuary for all bodies,
All genders, all colors of the rainbow and the darkness, the brilliance,
The whispered hymns and the shouted choruses, a place where love reigns
And hands explore and hearts make room, and minds open
For the fresh winds of freedom to blow through–
Come build with me.
Come celebrate the body positive,
Come love who you are and change what you want,
Come love who you are and change nothing at all,
Come love who you are and let go of the world’s expectations
Of who you should be or what you should say—let freedom ring,
And rejoice in the body positive,
Come love who you are and love one another,
Let’s dance or keep still, whatever we need,
Whatever we choose, let’s do it all with ferocious kindness,
And rejoice in the body positive.