BECKY BOYD: 'THE WOMAN' A POEM
Stylist and fashion writer Becky Boyd talks to REEK about poetry, third wave feminism and her favourite smells alongside her beautiful poem ‘The Woman’…
Tell us the thought process behind your poem?
I’ve always had an interest in writing and been drawn to poetry but I’ve never been able to figure out how to start creating my own pieces and to be honest, I still haven’t. This piece is the first I’ve ever written and it came from my friend asking if I’d be interested in writing a piece about my perspective on what it is to be a woman for her Uni project.
At first, I wasn’t planning it as a poem, but it started to mould together as more of a written piece rather than a commentary of my experience as a woman. Ideas of using techniques and different mediums to emphasise certain parts came together and I then took the conscious decision to try and make it have rhythm using repetitive sentences and contradictions, which led to creating an official piece, “The Woman”.
What do you want people to take from it?
This piece includes my own experiences but I know from talking to friends and women of all ages, that we go through similar things. I want women to read it and feel less alone. I want women to read it, identify their own qualities and feel empowered. I want women to realise that supposed “negatives” are actually strengths. I want women to recognise that the expectations pinned on us by others are wrong. I want women to sense the sarcasm and contradictions in the poem and to nod and say, “yeah, mhm, I’ve been told that, I know that…” If that happens, then I’ve achieved what I set out to do.
I want women to read it and feel well represented. To say, yes we can be emotional but that’s our superpower and actually no, it isn’t weak. This particular part stands out for me because I’ve grown to embrace the power in my emotions and have realised that many people try to belittle a woman’s ability to feel when really, it comes down to the fear that people have that women can be truly comfortable in themselves.
I want men to read it and understand that their comments can make a woman question her natural instincts to nurture and also condense her capacity to love, which can be damaging for her. If men can realise that a woman’s power doesn’t take away from his own and that these comments are more damaging than they may think, then maybe they can learn to embrace female strength instead of shutting down from a place of fear.
Tell us about some of the women who inspire you in your personal life and career from history to now?
My mum is my biggest inspiration and always has been. She built herself up from nothing and continued to find the strength to push through difficult times to make a better life for me. She did this to ensure that I have everything she wished she had when she was younger. My mum has always brought me up to be open minded, to love others, to be strong; to love myself for who I am, to be self-sufficient and to chase my dreams. These are all lessons I’ll carry on and instill in my children. Without the support from my mum, I definitely wouldn’t be who I am today.
Mary Queen of Scots is a historical figure that inspires me. Two things I’ve taken from her story was her strength to carry on through all the difficulties she faced and her selflessness in the choices she made in putting her people and family first. Both of those qualities are qualities that I personally identify with and believe are important to continue to create stronger and happier relationships.
What changes do you think should be implemented to encourage women to go into business and start up their own brands?
One huge change that has to happen for more women to feel inspired and encouraged to start their own empires is, for women to come together and build one another up. I still feel that there is a tension in women working together. A lot of women feel that other women have ulterior motives rather than a genuine interest. This has to change – we’re more powerful together and when we fully realise the extent of this, things will change.
What signifies female strength to you?
To me, our greatest female strength is our capacity to find strength to carry on. Women can go through the craziest times and come out even stronger. It’s something we should embrace, as it’s something that will always work in our favour. Nowadays, there’s a phase that women go through of pretending they have no feelings, “acting savage” when in fact, what they don’t realise is that this phase only shows insecurity and weakness. At the end of the day, showing our emotions is more powerful than hiding those abilities.
What are your favourite smells and are you a witch, or a bitch?
As one of my favourite smells is burning wood and I associate that with the word witch, so I want to go with that answer but to be honest, I’d say I’m a bitch. I’m saying bitch because I am mostly an understanding person but sometimes you just have to be selfish and turn the bitch on. On that note, I want women to know that it’s okay to put yourself first.