Poet Melissa Newman-Evans has a powerful message for young girls everywhere. In her spoken word poem,”9 Things I Would Like To Tell To Every Teenage Girl,” which she performed at the 2015 National Poetry Slam this past August, she lists nine warnings to young girls about becoming women. The video itself was just posted to Youtube three days ago, and has already gone viral–it’s been viewed over 30,000 times.
Becoming a woman is hard. And being a teenager is probably one of the most challenging periods in a girl’s life. But Newman-Evans is here to tell teen girls that they can survive it–and survive womanhood–and it’ll be OK. What I love most about this poem is the emphasis on sisterhood:
“The world is trying to kill you… Kill it back. Six: You remember that metaphor about killing you being stealing your voice? Sometimes the world will actually try to kill you…Telling you to prepare yourself is just another way to blame you when it happens which is why, seven: You need to hold up your sisters.
Eight: Everyone is your sister.”
Some of her other points are more playful, but still hit home, because she uses gender stereotypes in a way that is empowering, while also illustrating how outdated they are. When she lists her fourth point, she stresses how women should (and can!) wear what they want:
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“The best hairstyle is one that helps you get out of bed in the morning. The best brand of denim is one that fits and goes with your combat boots…Note, that high heels make perfectly acceptable combat boots.”
The poem ends with a simple explanation as to why all teenage girls need to support each other, which I believe women of any age, especially moms, can relate to: “The world is trying to kill each and every one of you and if you do not hold each other up, no one else will.”
No one else will. That last line sends a chill down my spine, because it’s so true. Moms, you know what I mean.
Watch the performance of the entire poem below: