Maya Angelou's Poem "Phenomenal Woman"

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me. 
An empowering and inspiring poem on women by the African - American poet, autobiographer and an activist Maya Angelou. She has beautifully written on how a self confident woman has challenged the stereotyped concept of a woman's beauty. Even today the norms of womanhood & beauty are defined by the patriarchal society. But the poet has argued against these old fashioned standards of beauty and presented a confident woman who does not follow these norms but makes herself a phenomenal woman by going through her busy life - rendering her duties as a mother, a wife, a daughter and above all a woman who does not care a damn for these typical standards of beauty enforced by the patriarchy in our society. The poem also comments on the  outlook of our society towards sexuality & gender. The poet argues that beauty is skin deep; physical beauty does not define your character but your overall disposition and character defines your personality. There are many women devoid of physical beauty but have beautiful souls. They hold great prominence in the lives of their loved ones because of their outstanding service and sacrifices for their near & dear ones. The beauty of their soul is far more versatile than physical beauty. 
But today the society still thrives on the beauty norms set up by patriarchy and media. Every girl wants to have a zero figure and be fair and lovely as portrayed by the beauty products. But no one strives to have a beautiful soul free from malice, selfish motives, hatred, treachery or ulterior motives. The enemy of a woman is another woman even though there are exceptions to this too. But the bunch of those women overshadows the good ones and any woman who is genuine,true, loving and a simpleton is also suspected to be having ulterior motives. The women fraternity themselves have lost their trust towards other women. I feel a sense of achievement to admit that I am not one of those women who is an enemy for the women around her. In all these years I have always helped the women around me and never ever betrayed the trust and friendship of those women who came into life. I have been betrayed and used by many "so-called friends & relatives" but never have I had any ulterior motive while dealing with them again. The best thing I do is just get away from them after realizing the situation and their motives. But I am happy being different as I know I am truly unique in a real sense. The reward I get is that my friends and female relatives know that I am trustworthy and they can always rely on me for anything in life. I will never let them down. It's the grace of God that I am blessed with this mindset and am happy and content that I am not a reason for someone's pain/tears in the family, at the workplace & among my friends.


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