The Original Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou

Women live under the illusion that their body dimensions define their identity. They are suffering from an unhealthy body image. There is a tremendous pressure on the youth to conform to the society’s image of a healthy human, which for the majority of us is not reality. There is a lot of unhappiness, negativity resulting from the societal rejection which ultimately leads to an identity crisis. I have friends worried about their weight gain, when not sweating it out at the gym and trying out new diet recipes, we look over fashion magazines and fawn over the gorgeous ladies that grace these pages. And every one of them without an exception is a skinny version of us. A recent news item took me back to my Gender Studies class back in 2009. We were studying this poem by Maya Angelou, Phenomenal Woman. After the first reading, i looked around and saw the faces of my friends. Our eyes shone with admiration, amazed at the sheer brilliance of the poem and its idea. We were completely bowled over by its powerful message. It was nothing new, unknown to us. On the contrary, we possessed knowledge of it. The poem celebrates womanhood in its true essence. It celebrates the gender, sexuality, and power that it embodies. It encourages women to discover, embrace, and bask in the glory of their true identity. A woman’s identity is the confidence, the attitude with which she takes on Life. She is built with it, and every form of her exudes this power. It is authentic, unique and cannot be bought, faked, or duplicated. Discard the fake ideas, be yourself. Read the poem, be inspired by yourself!

Phenomenal Woman – Maya Angelou

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 for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Phenomenal Woman was first published in 1995. Maya Angelou passed away on 28 May 2014 at the age of 86. She had a difficult childhood, growing up in a U.S.A. which was stricken with race crimes and gender discrimination. She was a brave, strong willed woman who never gave up hope and displayed courage even in the most gravest times. She will forever remain as the original Phenomenal Woman. An inspiration to women all across the world.

This post was written as part of the month long #septemberchallenge hosted at Everyday Gyaan.

Everyday Gyaan
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4 Responses to The Original Phenomenal Woman: Maya Angelou

  1. debosmita says:

    My all-time favourite woman and favourite poem 🙂 Kudos to you for doing the blogging challenge!


  2. Archana Kapoor says:

    She’s one heck of a woman… and I love her quotes… 🙂
    very well done dearie 🙂


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