I wrote this poem thinking of my baby daughter, and I dedicate it to all the little girls out there living in their gilded cages. With the words of Alejandro Jodorowsky, “Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness”.
“Because you are a girl. That is the reply,
when I ask over and over, why?
It’s what ‘s best for you they claim,
life as a girl is easy, you’re pampered and boys always get the blame.
But because I am a girl, I have it so much harder in this world.
They say they want to protect me, it’s for my own good,
but they don’t know or perhaps they misunderstood.
Because I am a girl, I cannot play outside the house with my brother,
I must stay inside locked up with my sister and mother.
My sister is happy because daddy says we are like princesses behind castle walls.
Why do I feel like a bird in a cage? I’m tired of playing inside with dolls.
I watch from my window as the boys play in the street,
why don’t they have to worry about who they see or meet?
Because I am a girl I shouldn’t run, jump, laugh and play,
that may cause someone to have the wrong impression of me, so they say.
I cannot ride a bike because someone might see, what will they think of my family and me!
But my brothers can go out and ride their bikes wild and free..
I wonder how it would be, if I were a boy?
If I were a boy I could surely climb a tree and nobody would care!
If I were a boy I could swim on the beach and nobody would stare!
But because I am a girl I can only watch in despair.
They say I’m so lucky because girls are like pearls.
Precious pearls in shells that only a few can see.
But I am a person, not a pearl. We are the same, my brother and me!
I don’t want to live in a clam hidden away, sheltered from life,
my only goal to become someone’s wife.
I want to swim out to the ocean and explore all its wonders!
Tears run down my cheeks at night when I lay in my bed and ponder,
I dream of climbing the highest of mountains with my brother.
I want to feel the wind in my hair as we race each other!
But I can’t, only because I am a girl.
So I sit alone in my room daydreaming of another day,
a day when I can be free of all these burdens.
A day when I can open the door and live.”
A poem that I don’t want my daughter to ever have to write..
P.S. The photos of the boys playing out in the streets I’ve shot from different cities in Saudi Arabia.