Contours

voices of women in law // voix des femmes en droit

ELLE

Par Miriam Pinkesz

Elle
L’éternelle
Fidèle L’air
Terre La mer.

Âme
Corps
Et ciel
Corporelle
Corpus
Les mots
Les règles
Beauté
Liberté
Trainée
Déesse
Enchaînée par ficelles.

Elle
Sexuelle
Éphémère
Lumière
Sœur
Frère
Laide
Belle
Faite pour distraire
Le fils
Le Père.

Sainte
Intellectuelle
Demain
Hier
Divine
Sensible
Sensuelle
Animale
Solitaire
Celui et celle
Vague
Et claire
La Loi
L’Enfer
Dieu et l’homme
Pour la faire taire
La voix de tonnerre.

Elle is a journey through time and mind, reflecting different perceptions of women 1 as imagined by different forms of law.

The poem begins with Woman as seen through the laws of nature. The laws of nature represent an organic and pure “law.” Woman, as a central part of the infinite cosmos, is not yet tainted by socially constructed ideas of gender essentialism, sexism, and the like. Woman represents strength, as Life is borne of Mother Nature. In this natural state of existence, all living beings are encompassed in the unity that is Life.

The poem then shifts to Woman as perceived by the doctrines and dogmas of religious law. Nature’s unifying embrace is slowly overshadowed by the commandments of the gods. Woman’s sexuality is associated with sin; she is secluded to the confines of the private sphere. Her central role is but a faint memory, and her liberty, restricted. Woman stands alone among the male gods, priests, and prophets who create and dictate the law.

The final stage is Woman in the contemporary positive law context. Woman is recognised as intelligent and capable of influencing the law and playing a role in its evolution. Woman has become judge and jurist, politician and minister. Yet Woman leads a lonely existence in her public life. The law is still predominantly ruled by men. Woman attempts to find her place. In Woman’s new liberty she encounters new obstacles: society treats her as either Man or Mother. She must often choose between the two, and her sacrifices abound. Woman turns to the law for relief – but alas – the law has a male voice, one that drowns the voice of Woman. The law has yet to change.

I wrote this poem in a state of inspiration and anger. I was inspired by all the women who struggled and fought for women’s rights, equality rights, LGBT rights, etc. I was angered by recent political events that risk society’s regression into a state of fascist machismo, especially the discriminatory words and policies of President Donald J. Trump. My conscience was shocked by the disrespectful message his public personality exhibits.

My anger acted as inspiration: I turned my negative emotions into a source of creativity and creation. I formed what I was feeling into words, and spat those words down on paper. The poem is “brute”: it reflects the depth of my emotion, with as little deliberation as possible. In fact, structural freedom is a driving force of my poem: Woman should not be forced to conform to the pre-existing molds that religion, society, and men have created. Woman should be her natural self, whatever that may be. As such, Woman is powerful, and her thundering voice roars louder than social constructs, sexism, and Donald J. Trump.


1 And all who may identify as such.

Contours is made possible by funding from the McGill Law Students’ Association / L’Association des étudiant-e-s en droit de McGill. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without permission from the authors.

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