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Dear Mr. Patriarchy

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

In honor of International Women’s Day, our volunteer ambassador, Tiala penned this riveting reflective piece as an ode to Caribbean women’s rights.

Dear Mr. Patriarchy,

With all your wretched blows to her self-esteem

And warped preconceived misconceptions of what she should be

You demean her every day,

A constant obstacle in her way.

With no warning, you strike; a thief in the night

Stealing her confidence, her power and choice

You bury her slowly,

you leave her no voice.

Dear Mr. Patriarchy,

How you so? Why you like that?

Is your masculinity a silver spoon?

Do you wander thoughtlessly through this world

Justified by your status?

What about us?

Dear Mr. Patriarchy,

She don’t love you.

She never will.

Your words, your actions

They give her the chills.

Not the good kind, the kind she fears,

The chills that later evoke tears.

She cries herself to sleep

That I bet you didn’t know.

The hands that groped her,

The marks dem still ah show.

Emotional scars to last a lifetime,

“Not my business” you say, “she ain’t mine.”

She’s not yours?

What does that even mean?

A cattle, a piece of property, an object:

That’s how you make her seem.

She is woman, no less than you.

Dear Mr. Patriarchy

She matters, too.

Your effects, dear sir

Are written in history,

Directionless children,

Their fathers just a mystery.

Your congenital prejudice

Somehow unfounded,

A powerful guild

So firmly grounded.

Within this multifaceted Caribbean society

We still ah cower under the “great patriarchy.”

Male dominance in sport, in work and at school,

Women left straggling, forced to abide by the rules.

Male chauvinism is still rife,

Can you believe?

Boy, I tell yuh, it’s like passing through a sieve.

Instructed to conform to these men’s idea of right,

Anything different is an unfathomable sight.

Cat-calls and glaring eyes,

Penetrating looks and desperate sighs.

“psssst,” “aye girl,” “hey sexy,” they exclaim.

Just walking down the street

And they want to know her name.

Dear Mr. Patriarchy,

You are of absolutely no use.

Your system of downpression,

A cycle of abuse.

Without you, the world can breathe

The crisp scent of fresh air.

How else can that happen?

With your presence on earth here

She paces back and forth,

Afraid to face the day.

Another day at work,

And she has to fight her way.

Against the turned-up noses,

“What is she doing here?”

“A woman doctor? No way!”

Their voices tremble with fear.

Dear Mr. Patriarchy,

Your prime has come to an end.

The battle against you is raging,

There are no more corners to bend.

Nowhere to run,

Nowhere to hide.

You will be defeated,

Stride by stride.

Our Caribbean feminists,

Both individuals and groups alike,

Are forces to be reckoned with in this ongoing fight.

Rhoda Reddock, Pat Mohammed, Girls of a Feather and Herstoire

Are just a few names of those working tirelessly thus far.

With posters and marches and speeches and more,

They bring the issues you cause to the fore.

Spreading awareness and knowledge

Like a gentle touch,

Awakening our senses, teaching us much.

Dear Mr. Patriarchy,

This here is for you.

She’s been taxed, she’s done,

There’s nothing left to do.

Nothing but to stop, to think and change your ways,

To be more understanding, to eradicate this phase.

Dear Mr. Patriarchy,

The time has come.

Equality is in the air,

Fair treatment for everyone.

Regardless of sex, of status or of race,

We all have our purpose, our rights and our place.

Stop teaching our boys that women are toys.

Teach them to go against the noise

Of the damned voices filling their heads,

Of ideas and ideals they really should dread.

Emotions? What are those?

Our boys are afraid to cry,

To express, to dance, you teach them to be shy.

You set out a blueprint,

A guide for everyone to follow,

But the cycle will be broken,

Whether today or tomorrow.

Dear Mr. Patriarchy,

You need to go.

You’re unhealthy for everyone,

And this I know:

A society without you

Sounds more than alright,

Like the scent of peonies,

Or a kiss goodnight.

Farewell, goodbye I bid to you,

Mr. Patriarchy, your time is due.

No longer will you stifle our women

And brainwash our boys.

We’ll move on without you,

With grace and poise.

So with this she says

“Good riddance! Be gone!”

“It wasn’t nice knowing you,”

“But now I am strong.”

Strong enough to speak,

To stand up and fight

Mr. Patriarchy,

She is woman,

And so full of might.

  • By Tiala Gabrielle Scott

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