Outraged by how society talks about various feminine lifestyles and problems, spoken word poets Megan Falley and Olivia Gatwood created the duo “Speak Like a Girl” and travel around the United States in order to entertain and educate students. The two poets came to Wittenberg’s campus on Feb. 26 to share some of their work.
They reference personal experiences, national epidemics and mass media’s influence on females in society. Falley and Gatwood state that American culture tells females that they need to sit around all day to brush their hair, act perfect and be thin, but Falley and Gatwood have different opinions. When asked what else women should do and think about, they have a simple response.
“I don’t know – body image, rape culture, motherhood, gender roles, the fact that no one will let her wear anything but a pink dress?” Falley and Gatwood said.
Speak Like a Girl chooses not to beat around the bush, but rather to speak loudly about whatever comes to their minds, especially those topics that infuriate them. They focus on female empowerment and speak out for those who feel silenced.
While they tend to draw in a mostly female audience, they also said that men can take valuable messages away from their performances. Even though there are poems related to the female orgasm and feminine products, the duo also speaks out about women in the workplace, giving consent and sexual assault, which pertain to both males and females.
Micah Sattler, ‘18, was one of a handful of men present at Wittenberg’s Speak Like a Girl event.
“It felt kind of weird sometimes,” Sattler said, “but it was also a good feeling.”
Union Board members discovered Speak Like a Girl at the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) this past fall semester and thought they would be a good fit for the students. Braden Crouse, ‘17, was a member of the selection committee who brought Falley and Gatwood to Wittenberg for their performance.
“We heard them and thought they’d be so cool on campus because we have such an open community,” Crouse said. “People in our community are very into feminist issues and rape culture and the gender binary.”
Gatwood and Falley took turns sharing their solitary and their collaborative poems, as well as reading the “hundreds and thousands” of criticisms they have received from people on their YouTube comments.
“Greenlightme says ‘I couldn’t understand what the skinny girl was saying because the hippo was talking over her,’” Falley read. “So rude. Did anyone catch what this poem was about?”
Based on these types of criticisms, Falley and Gatwood create more poems as a response. Their spoken poetry gives them the ability to answer back while reaching an audience who may be experiencing the same criticisms.
“I loved the strong, empowering messages,” Becca Mitchell, ‘19, said. “They were told in a funny and light-hearted manner.”
The duo has written books and is selling shirts in order to promote their feminist messages. They also are touring across the United States to continue sharing their words.
“We are angry,” Falley and Gatwood said. “Why aren’t you?”