a woman is birthed from foam, from silk and seashell.
her face and body are long and pale. it’s a gothic body;
small shoulders, smooth skin, round stomach. it’s a face deep in thought.
everything about her implies movement, deliberation. she’s a renaissance
goddess of love, all wrapped in a sheet of her orange hair. she is everything beautiful
and she knows it. she speaks without words.
she’s an unassuming, natural and careless beauty.
a girl is birthed from dirt, from body and rust.
she sees an abomination in the mirror:
her lips are too small. her eyes should be bigger. her hair is not parted correctly.
is that a pimple on her forehead? she looks too big.
the perfect woman is fed to her through the media.
tiny waist and tiny stomach. little nose. everything small, small, small.
image upon haunting image until the girl finds herself cursing the other women.
until self-loathing begets an unprecedented feeling of jealousy.
until that jealousy leads to hatred. until she’s beaten down and
she can’t see anything but a monster in herself.
then there’s venus. the girl on the shell. the perfect girl, yet all imperfect.
staring at her onlookers, a flash of complete wisdom behind her eye.
This poem looks at self-consciousness and self-doubt. The first section examines Sandro Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” and the beautiful depiction of the goddess. The second section uses grittier imagery to describe modern girls and warped self image.