The Ideal Audience - By: Asal Vahed
as little girls begin to grow up
they hear from their parents
did the boys like your outfit?
did the boys think you look cute?
and from then
they implement the goal that is
and the seeking of male approval
little girls grow up with this wiring that is
harmful to them as people and not just women
their brain suppresses thoughts, emotions and opinions
because they learned
to impress anybody but themselves
they stop blooming as individuals
and start aiming for approval from their "ideal audience"
following trends and following in the footsteps of celebrities
that seem to get their audience beaming
but hopefully, more beautiful and soulful girls
realize that no matter their effort
not everyone in the audience will clap for them
so we need to teach them
to always walk off stage with a smile
whether the audience is happy or not
Please give a detailed explanation about the meaning and main idea of this poem.:
With this poem, the main goal was to bring to light the mindset that is enforced on young girls as they begin to grow up. We are taught that all of our actions, and thoughts must be approved by the men around us. This is wired into us as children and the damage it causes becomes very clear as we begin to flourish as teenagers and adults. We revolve our lives around the likings of men; simply put, the objective behind our existence is for male approval and to be desired by men. The idea of this poem is to remind girls and women that this target we have created is not only useless but unattainable. Hence, our energy as people should not be put towards impressing an audience that will never fulfill the expectations we have for them to reach. Moreover, the purpose of this poem was to bring this toxic mentality to light, to emphasize the harm it can cause and to remind women that it is not necessary to impress this "ideal audience".
Please explain your writing and thought process regarding this poem.:
The structure of this poem is not exclusively abstract and only involves abstract entities near the last stanza. The first stanzas are very clear as to what distress can be caused by this frame of mind. However, I include the stage and repeat the idea of the symbolic audience near the end to connect the poem to the title. My thought process during the writing of this poem was to ensure that it reached its preferred audience, but it is written in a manner that it be comprehensible to all audiences.
Why did you choose to write this poem?:
As I mentioned before, the goal of the poem was to bring this toxic mentality to light, to emphasize the harm it can cause and to remind women that it is not necessary to impress this "ideal audience". Subsequently, what drove me to write this poem was analyzing my environment and analyzing the situations the women around me are experiencing. Most of the hurt these women go through is another form of self-harm because they make unhealthy and destructive decisions to receive the approval of the male gaze. I have witnessed examples as such with teenagers, young adults and fully matured adults; despite the age differences, these women have not been able to understand the common factor in their troubles. This common factor is that they are moulding themselves to fit this image of women that they believe are liked by men. Therefore, the creation of this poem is a simple reminder that once we break free from the mould, then we will finally be content with who we are as people.