by Sophia Fox-Sowell
I am a statue.
Stoic and silent. Perfectly poised, standing ageless atop a loaded pedestal.
I am waiting. Waiting to be touched, not felt. Seen, not stared at.
I am objectified by the masses. Immobilized, I am frozen in time by the artist who created me. Trapped by the museum who curates me. And judged by the audience who pays to bask in my muted presence.
I am a still performer, constantly on display. I long to hide.
As a woman, I am not a person per se, more like a figure of speech. I’m just a common phrase that everyone tosses around and misuses, but no one seems to understand. “The Average Joe.”
Except, I’m not Joe. I’m nameless. Voiceless. My face and mind are of little consequence, as it is my body that gets torn to pieces; as if there is no soul beneath the stone.
I wasn’t always perfect.
I started as we all do, a blank slab of marble; anxiously anticipating my destiny to be carved into reality. Who would I be? Would I be small and petite? Or would I would be tall and powerful? Would I gaze upon the proletariat or waste away in a collector’s cupboard? Man or woman? God or mortal?
The Creator finally came to me, He tempered my anxiety with tools. My devoted master, his touch was firm. Delicate, yet deliberate.
He hammered me.
It was painful relief to be formed. Sweet delicious agony, coming into being. Awoken after so long a slumber.
A tortured artist, his behavior was erratic. Sometimes I was not what he wanted. Other times, I fulfilled his every desire. I was all he hoped for and more. I often disappointed him one moment and the next completed his very soul. I was everything. His masterpiece, and the bane of his existence.
After the hammer came the chisel. Hammer pounds. Chisel sculpts. Hammer is the force that frees the mold. Chisel is the instrument that brings it to life.
The male gaze is a fickle specimen. Men are able to dictate the identity of women, simply by looking at us. In their eyes, we do not see a mirror.
There is no truth in the eyes of men.
Like a thunderous summer storm, I became a woman gradually, then suddenly. I will forever be cast in a veil, a mold of how society sees me, an object, instead of a proper reflection of who I truly am.
Throughout it all, I was still. Helpless and vulnerable. I could not cry out in frustration, or exalt in pain. I could only absorb the blows he gave me, without question, comment, or complaint.
I would never have a voice.
After all, I am a woman.
I am only stone.