Lily Myers, a student at Wesleyan University, performed “Shrinking Women” at the 2013 College National Poetry Slam Invitational at Barnard College and was awarded with Best Love Poem at the competition. Her poem, which has gone viral, passionately and movingly articulates in three minutes the societal repression of women and the power of spoken word poetry to bear witness to truth. Finger snapping heard in the background replaces applause in the slam poetry world, so we can hear more.
Excerpt from the Huffington Post:
“Women in my family have been shrinking for decades,” declares Lily Myers.
Her slam poem, “Shrinking Women,” which won Best Love Poem at the 2013 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational in April, perfectly expresses the pressure women feel to take up less and less space, to be quiet, to be small and to eat sparingly.
She explains the difference between the ways men and women are socialized to her brother:
You have been taught to grow out, I have been taught to grow in. You learn from our father how to emit, how to produce, to roll each thought off your tongue with confidence. You used to lose your voice every other week from shouting so much. I learned to absorb. I took lessons from our mother in creating space around myself. I learned to read the knots in her forehead while the guys went out for oysters.