Tag Archives: sexism

Eyed Up


Standing at the edge of the soccer field
She swung her rope
Jumped again
Varying her speed to vary her heart rate
Intense bursts followed by leisurely hops
She kept her eyes on her son’s practice
His perspiring brow mirroring her own
As he sprinted towards the goal

Other eyes were on her
Some of the moms
Some of the dads
Some dads’ eyes lingering
Assuming she performed for them
Versus her health
Her form fitting yoga pants and sports shirt
Selected by her for comfort
And to insure her clothing didn’t obstruct her workout
Kept her safe and cool
Moved well with her
And made her feel confident
Must really have been slipped into
They believed
To entice men to stop and stare
Excite a biological imperative to ogle each curve
And assess her attractiveness
Her motives
Her worth

How shameful for a busy mom
To multitask on a beautiful day
Attend her son’s practice
And still fit in some exercise
Before stopping at the store
To pick up her family’s own groceries
As well as those of her elderly mother
Swing by her mom’s place to drop off the bags
Carry them all in and unload them
And encourage her sweaty, antsy son to sit by his grandma
And swap stories about their day
As she threw out the expired yogurt and milk in the fridge
Print so small her mom could never spot the spoil
Change her sheets
Fill her mom’s pill box for the week
And make sure she had everything she needs

Finally, setting out her trash cans on the curb
Before climbing back in her car
To rush home in time to prepare dinner
For her two hungry boys and hungrier husband
Put her own groceries away
Then run her other son to swim practice
And remain poolside to praise his progress
Before heading back home and throwing in two loads of laundry
Paying the bills
While helping both boys with their homework
Fill out permissions slips for upcoming field trips
Clean up after the dog in the yard before the sun set
And throw a ball for their ancient spaniel to chase
Scratch her belly and giving her a treat
Pack everyone’s lunches for the next day
Fold the now clean laundry and set it atop appropriate dressers
Load the dishwasher
Wipe off the counters
Ask her husband about his day
And talk about his frustration with his boss
And the state of the country
And their shared distaste over the unfathomable resurgence of high-waisted jeans
Finalize the schedule for the upcoming weekend
To determine which parent is taking which child to which game
As they perfectly conflict on Saturday
Before she set out her clothes for the next day
So when she gets up before the sun rises
She won’t need to turn on the light
And disturb her husband as she gets ready for work
Sets out the cereal boxes and bowls for the family
Rinses blueberries and places them in the center of the table
Along with a note, “Love you all. Boys, please turn in the signed permissions slips that I put in your folders in your backpacks or you won’t be able to go on the trip to Philly. Have a wonderful day!”
And heads out the door in the still dark
To go make money
To help pay for the team fees and the groceries and the gas
And veterinarian bills

Let us judge this mom
Let’s put pictures of her jumping rope on social media
Let’s assume she chose to stand where she stood so everyone could best see her
Instead of where she had room to jump and still see the field
And let’s talk to all of our friends about her disparagingly
Criticize her for her ostentatious show
Of fitness and a concern for her own health and wellbeing
As she carries the weight of her family
On her capable, well defined shoulders every day
With enthusiasm and love


Shallow Traps



She braided
the length of
her glossy hair
into a net

ensnared him

snug wrapped
in the mesh
afloat in the
flower fragrance
of dead cells
she pulled
the rope
of locks tight
round biceps
and throat

The lure
the lasso
the noose

February 2014
Julie Ayers

On Constructing Girls



A grey and white
lop eared bunny
named Pogo Bop
needed a home,
so my dad and I built him one.

My father was a carpenter
and a perfectionist,
so he constructed the rabbit hutch
as I stood idly by,
anxiously awaiting my chance
to swing a hammer,
use the circular saw.

He promised me
I’d be called in,
get to measure,
cut and pound,
but I never did.

Just like I never was offered
the keys to ride his dirt bike
or allowed to strap on a tank
and go scuba diving with him.

Was it the length of my eyelashes
and fondness for nail polish,
or my perceived lack of expertise,
that prompted my father
to leave me ever empty-handed?

April 18, 2013
Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo #18


Don’t call me babe.
And why do you insist
on referring to time I spend
with my friends
as a Girls Night Out?
I am forty-eight.
I successfully transitioned from girl to woman
decades ago.notGNO
These people with whom I gather
are fine and beautiful
sumptuous and present
in skin
mapped with fine lines
and deep trails
that lead from then
to now.
A woman
beyond her thirties
does not signify a lack
of crucial force
impish energy
passion for the all
and fire.
We are radiant.
please refer to us
with the reverence that is our due.
splendid mothers
and companions
who make your lives
are not girls
indulging in amusing antics.
We are the creators of whole worlds,
conferring about their fragile particulars
over dinner
and glasses of fortitude and delight.
January 2013
Julie Ayers