"Just Because..." Student Poems about Shattering Stereotypes and Embracing our True Selves (*New Poem Added!)

Karly N
Posted January 17, 2014 from United States

Hello World Pulse!

The beautiful young women in my Global Girls Group in a High School in Portland, Maine recently completed a poetry exercise. Here they share their voices in poetic form to give us insight into who they truly are, and remind us how dangerous labels can be. See the pictures below to read their hand-written versions of these poems.

JUST BECAUSE by Belyse:

Just because I am calm Doesn't mean I don't have an opinion Doesn't mean I don't know my rights Doesn't mean I am going to submit myself to others I am peaceful

Just because I am single Doesn't mean I don't love Doesn't mean I am a prostitute Doesn't mean I am hopeless I am happy

Just because I am talkative Doesn't mean I am a liar Doesn't mean I gossip Doesn't mean I am not respectful I am proud of myself

Just because I am a woman Doesn't mean I don't deserve respect Doesn't mean I am fragile Doesn't mean I am emotional I am strong

JUST BECAUSE by Ciham:

Just because I am African-American Doesn't mean I am poor Doesn't mean I am uneducated I am friendly and open to all

Just because I am a Muslim girl Doesn't mean I am oppressed Doesn't mean I am forced to do anything Doesn't mean I am the daughter of a terrorist I am liberated

Just because I am young Doesn't mean I'm not mature Doesn't mean I'm dumb Doesn't mean I can't make rational decisions I am an individual

JUST BECAUSE by Hayat:

Just because I am: MUSLIM Doesn't mean I hate America Doesn't mean I am a terrorist Doesn't mean I'm not a feminist QUIET Doesn't mean my voice won't be heard Doesn't mean I'm not a dreamer Doesn't mean I can't change the world I am a silent Muslim-American Leader

JUST BECAUSE by Claudia:

Just because I am a teenage girl Doesn't mean I hate school Doesn't mean I dress inappropriately to get boys attention Doesn't mean I stay all night on social media I am different

Just because I am quiet Doesn't mean I don't have a voice Doesn't mean I don't see what you're doing Doesn't mean I am naive I am strong

Just because I smile Doesn't mean I am happy Doesn't mean I don't cry Doesn't mean I don't get sad I am human

JUST BECAUSE by Edna:

Just because I am a feminist Doesn't mean I am stern Doesn't mean I hate men Doesn't mean I see them as 'beneath me' I am a fighter for gender equality From both perspectives

Comments 20

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  • Osai
    Jan 17, 2014
    Jan 17, 2014

    Dear Karly,

    These pieces are so well thought out, catchy and interesting to read. I am amazed at the clarity of thought of the writers and how beautifully they composed their message.

    I find the poem by Claudia the most striking where she talks about being quiet.: "Just because I am quiet doesn't mean I donot have a voice". It reflects what Worldpulse seeks to achieve giving women a voice.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

    Best wishes, Osai

  • Karly N
    Jan 18, 2014
    Jan 18, 2014

    Dear Osai,

    Thank you so much for your kind and supportive words. They mean a lot of all of us! ~Karly

  • pelamutunzi
    Jan 18, 2014
    Jan 18, 2014

    the sentiments of the girls are powerful and i want my students to do something similar. it would be very important to have students in different parts of the world sharing experiences to see how far the struggle for women emancipation and empowerment is. do you think this kind of exchange would be possible

  • Karly N
    Jan 18, 2014
    Jan 18, 2014

    Dear Pela,

    Thank you so much for your comment of support and encouragement. I LOVE the idea of a cultural exchange between the girls in my group and yours. We are in Portland, ME in the US. Where are you located? I would love to hear more about your students and your ideas to make this happen. So look forward to it!

    Warmly,

    Karly

  • pelamutunzi
    Jan 18, 2014
    Jan 18, 2014

    im thinking about the best way. i know skype could work with a small group. and maybe penpals especially now where they can use social media. im just brainstorming here what do you think? im in harare zimbabwe. does this make any sense. we can refine this and see how to go about it. so looking forward to this.

    regards pela

  • Karly N
    Jan 23, 2014
    Jan 23, 2014

    We would love to skype and be penpals!! I know the time difference might be a problem. I only see the girls once a week in the afternoon, on Tuesdays at 2:30pm my time (which I think is around 9:30pm your time). Why don't we start with penpals and then try to figure out a way to skype? When I see the girls on Tuesday we will figure out a way to do this, and then send you a letter together on WorldPulse. :) So excited! Thank you Pela!

  • Kim Crane
    Jan 23, 2014
    Jan 23, 2014

    This is such a lovely connection unfolding. If this exchange happens, I hope you'll document and share on World Pulse!

    Kim Crane World Pulse Content Coordinator

  • Karly N
    Jan 24, 2014
    Jan 24, 2014

    Thank you, Kim! We're so excited about it too. Thanks for your words of support. We'll keep WP updated for sure :)

  • pelamutunzi
    Jan 27, 2014
    Jan 27, 2014

    that is truly amazing. yes the time is an issue. i will also discuss what is possible with my students but penpals is a great way to start. i will also discuss with my girls here but they are also excited and cant wait. will also be sharing on WorldPulse

    warmly pela

  • pelamutunzi
    Jan 27, 2014
    Jan 27, 2014

    and kim thank you. WP has given us this platform and we will make it happen. just love the idea of distance not being a barrier anymore. regards pela

  • maombi aline
    Jan 24, 2014
    Jan 24, 2014

    merci beaucoup,suis vraiment confortée

  • Jan 24, 2014
    Jan 24, 2014

    Thank you so much for your beautiful support. :)

  • ikirimat
    Jan 24, 2014
    Jan 24, 2014

    Nice, reminds us how we felt when growing up and how no one understood what we felt like. its also a reminder to all of us to be considerate and patient.

  • Karly N
    Jan 24, 2014
    Jan 24, 2014

    Thank you Grace. Your support and empathy are truly appreciated, and you are so right.

    Much love, Karly

  • Soumya Vilekar
    Jan 26, 2014
    Jan 26, 2014

    Dear Karly, It was an amazing share by you of the poems written by the young students. Surely,the poems show the insight of what they believe and have experienced.How strong and intense the discord and chaos of the world around affects them can be seen through these poems. The" Just because " written by Ciham speaks of her individual respect for humanity and brotherhood through her universal message of being human . Even Claudia speaks of a voice which can be heard by all . The article really gives us a thought of how strong the impact can be when we label things ,people,communities,nations in front of the young minds and how practically and clearly these people can show the lost ones their way. Best wishes, Soumya

  • Karly N
    Jan 31, 2014
    Jan 31, 2014

    Dear Soumya,

    Thank you so much for these beautiful words. They are appreciated by all of us. With love and respect, Karly

  • Mauwa Brigitte
    Feb 01, 2014
    Feb 01, 2014

    Salut! Vraiment, je suis de même avis avec vous pour ce poème qui touche mon cœur et la valeur de la femme, une voix faible mais puissante, forte pour la transformation de la personnalité dès le berceau dans notre famille.

  • Karly N
    Feb 03, 2014
    Feb 03, 2014

    Vos mots signifient beaucoup.

  • Karly N
    Feb 03, 2014
    Feb 03, 2014

    Thank you all for your beautiful words of encouragement and inspiration. :)

  • Lea
    Jul 05, 2014
    France
    Jul 05, 2014

    Wow, Karly, these are absolutely amazing poems and so heartfelt and genuine. I'm so impressed by the students have been able to produce and by your desire to teach them to respect and embrace their multiple identities. As teachers, we need to encourage our students to develop a sense of themselves and more importantly to appreciate and understand differences, which is what you are doing. I really applaud you for all of your work and would love to hear more about this group! Fantastic work! You're truly making a difference! Lea