Opnions and Ramblings · Poetry

The Fabric of a Virgin – a poem + discussion

The Virgin Spring: l

The Virgin Spring photographed by Julia Hetta

The fabric of a virgin
By Alexandra Harrison

These clothes
They are old and worn
Sweat worked into the fabric
Fading lines
And tough caught skin
In every stitch
Of grey and black

Stains pressed on skirts
And scrubbed away with haste
Dirt on the ankles
Lace broken and snapping
(Not so delicate anymore)
Fabric floating in warm baths
Like dark jellyfish
In an artificial ocean

Tight wired corsets
Squeezing flesh like a machine
Into a copy of a woman
Of this modern age
Harsh impressions on the skin
Bleeding red
Like an English rose

Disconnected from the human form
Beaten hands protruding from the sleeves
Like gentle aliens
Heavy skirts concealing legs
Untouched and secretive
Covered with dark hairs
Pushing from the skin
Patterned with blue veins

These clothes are my companions for
Secrecy and the destruction of my shame
They are refinements
Purifiers
Only they have seen my nakedness
And they quiver, as his hand touches my waist

 

My poem portrays a young woman who is living in the nineteenth century. Her clothes, as described in the poem, symbolize her innocence and purity and the poem uses this to demonstrate the girl’s psychological evolution into womanhood, finishing of course with her first (and probably only) romantic and sexual relationship.

Sex with a man for the first time, is something of which would have been very important and possibly overwhelming for a woman of that era and of course, even in modern times, many women feel the same. These clothes give her comfort and in the last stanza (which switches narratives) she says ‘These clothes are my companions for secrecy and the destruction of my shame’  Taking them off symbolizes a new stage in her life, something of which she doesn’t necessarily not welcome, but is anxious about.

Even though this poem is set in an historical era,  I believe that the issues addressed remain the same. For example, some girls, as part of their religion, choose to wear a head scarf, but I have seen people criticize them for this and the religion in general for making girls wear them, but when the girls themselves were asked, many of them felt uncomfortable taking their head scarf off in public.

We need to recognize that all women feel comfortable doing different things and that this should be their decision. Their choices may be influenced by their culture, religion or social background, but they should be fundamentally their own. For example loosing their virginity for one person may be unimportant, but for another it is a very important moment.  And that difference should be okay, choosing to have sex can be a very personal, private thing and we should not criticize either end of the spectrum.

We should not judge the girl I portray in the poem, for holding such an attachment to her clothes, clothes she has grown with, but of which she even criticizes, because she is well aware of the current issues facing women of her time ‘Squeezing flesh like a machine, into a copy of a woman, of this modern age’  Just because she is apprehensive about sex does not make her old fashioned. But empathize with how her clothes represent how she has lived her life so far and how it is difficult for her to just let go, when as described in the poem, these clothes hold the essence of her life so far. They are ‘old and worn’ and they have been her companions  throughout childhood.

Other women’s decisions should not impact your opinion on other women. If a woman wishes to cover herself that is fine. If a woman wishes to wear little clothes, that is also  fine. If a woman wishes to remain a virgin, that is fine. If a woman wishes to have a lot of sex, as long as she is respecting herself and the person she is doing it with, that is also fine. Do not label women as ‘prude’ or ‘slutty’ but admire their strength and confidence to make their own decisions about how they want to live their life. For putting their beliefs first, when our so called society is telling them otherwise. Respect their emotions and opinions and allow young girls to grow the way they want to, without society shoving sexist slurs down their throat.

Opinions on this poem would be greatly appreciated :)!

Thank you so much for reading,

Alex

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38 thoughts on “The Fabric of a Virgin – a poem + discussion

  1. First of all, that was a fantastic poem. I LOVED it, because it portrayed something different, something that people would THINK about. Ultimately, it’s up to a person how they dress, how they express themselves, and what they do with their body, and people shouldn’t judge them because that’s their PERSONAL choice. Also, you’ve just partly inspired my next post.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s about what you’re saying, and also about conscent and sex and everything like that – we SHOULD talk about this. We might be young, but we still need to know that people choose to wear certain things, or do certain things, and that’s okay.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know, I’m always apprehensive about writing these posts because I’m worried people will think I’m too young to be tacking topics like this, but you’re (by this I mean society) going to produce a very scared, ignorant and dangerous generation if you shield them from important matters such as these that they will have to deal with eventually. Learning about sex and consent shouldn’t be shamed, but encouraged to create a safer and more empathetic society.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You get better every time!
    I completely agree with the view you want to portray and the meaning. Being intimate is, that, an intimate thing. It is each person’s wish what to do with their bodies; because our body is OURS and not anyone else’s to comment on or judge. Different people have different views, and we must not impose our beliefs and comforts on others. They have their own.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You guys are all so much better at describing things than me, so all I’m going to say is EXACTLY. There is not just one way of doing things, we are all different, which is something that should be celebrated, but it is instead looked down upon by one dominate group of society who think they’re superior and can make judgments on people who choose to live their lives differently. A sexual relationship can mean different things to different people, but for some it is a very intimate thing, a personal decision and you’re right, our body is ours and not anyone else’s to comment on. As long as we’re not hurting anyone, we should be able to decide alone what we’re doing with it and I think shaming sex and people’s bodies from a young age is only trapping us in a terrible loop of prejudice and hatred. One of my favourite poets writes this in one of her poems and it is so powerful ‘you’re damn right my body is a temple i am the god it was built for
      i am the landlord and i can let whoever i want live inside it’

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sex is a topic that has become more open and people need to accept that times have changed and that we are all NOT going to follow the same rules from decades earlier. We are making new rules, and we are more open to things, not narrowminded to believe that all around us should believe the same as us. That’s a huge NO. And this isn’t only in topics of our bodies but also in religion, love and marriage. It’s just so wrong to turn the judgy gaze on women. One person said that women are like roses, and men are like thorns. Women need to be protecred, and they have to be soft, submissive and beautiful. NO, we are MORE than just pretty faces and mothers to your heirs. We have our own minds, intellect and views. We can form our own opinions and live by them, thank you very much. We’re good.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey…first of all, great post! And second of all, I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Its completely fine if you choose not to do it!💙

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved this poem and your write up afterwards. Men are judged too by their decision to remain a virgin until they met the special girl. However women have been harshly criticized to a point where they can’t win either way that can’t win. It’s hard being a woman. But they should feel comfortable doing what they want to do in their sex life without being bothered by others but what the others think of them ultimately rests with them not with the women.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, I really appreciate the time you took to write that comment. I agree, I think women can’t ‘win’ either way when it comes to sex, which is ridiculous because it’s such a personal thing and no one should have he right to criticise it, if it’s causing no harm

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea a girl called me prude once that’s why I say men can be judged too but that was literally only one time in my life. But women are made to feel bad if they don’t choose to have sex and made to feel bad a lot of sex. Every woman should be free of judgement of how they want to live their romantic lives. I hope one day women are left alone because young teenagers growing up in school are faced with a lot of pressure and stressors in their lives the last thing they need is any kind of extra undue stress.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think these judgements are are often subconscious and worked into every inch of our society. It’s honestly so dangerous and damaging to the new generation, but hopefully by discussing and raising these issues we can make a difference 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. True you have done a great thing by putting it out there for people to discuss. I hope things will change and women will be treated better. I appreciate women and show it in my writing. Most of the characters in my stories are great women friends of mine.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a fantastic poem. GOD, I’m so glad that someone has talked about this. A woman is so fragile and having her labelled as all these degrading names could break her. You’ve sent a wonderful message forward.

    Liked by 1 person

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