KASAMA Vol. 23 No. 1 / January-February-March 2009 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

Female of the Species

by Maureen Watson

Maureen Watson
Whoever said I can’t fly?
Why, Sisters, I can — can’t I?
Whoever said, that because I’m a girl,
I’d be moulded and scolded by a sexist world.
Told me I could only be a mother,
Said I could never do things like my brother.
Well, here’s mud in your eye,
‘Cause Sisters, I can — can’t I?
Why, Sisters, you told me, I could be free,
Showed me I could be, what I wanted to be,
Told me that I could liberate myself,
That I need never be left on the shelf.
Why, I can spread my wings and fly away,
From the depths, to the heights any night, any day.
Why, the whole world is within my reach,
I can learn or I can teach,
Why, I can dig ditches or write professorial theses,
‘Cause me — why, I’m the female of the species.
And I’ve rewritten the story of the power and glory,
The wonder of being, the joy of seeing,
In every direction, my reflection,
In a million women’s faces,
And I’ve found my place in a million different places,
For a human being, the female version.
And you know what?
It couldn’t have happened to a nicer person,
‘Cause I like what I see, when I look at me,
And I don’t have to be, what I used to be,
I can be whatever I choose to be.
So you can throw out your book on your sexist theses,
‘Cause me, why, I’m the female of the species.

Reprinted from Inside Black Australia: an anthology of Aboriginal poetry, edited by Kevin Gilbert, Penguin Books Australia Ltd, 1988.

Photograph from the State Library of NSW, Sydney: ‘Portraits of Australian Aborigines, 1981-1984’ / photographed by Penny Tweedie.

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