Lot One

Our Creative Residents share their thoughts in response to International Women’s Day 2024.

Words by Jaime (she/her), 22 QLD  

Content Warning

The following poetry and artwork may contain themes that might be difficult to read or triggering to some readers. Readers in need can seek support from the following services 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or Lifeline (13 11 14) – visit our Creating a Safe Space page to see a full list of support services.

#Lot_One

The saleyards are full
Bodies knocking against bodies
The shuffle of feet and the muffle of
Bleats as cattle and sheep
and women squish
To the back corner of their respective yards,
And are layered in blankets of
eyes
As men go round
Pen by pen,
Lot by lot,
And get ready to place their bids.

Climbing over each other,
Are women, and teenage girls,
And little girls and littler girls.
They clamber over shoulders, trying to
Reach the side of the yard,
Hands reaching for sunshine.

“A four year old filly topped the market the other day”,
Someone exclaims,
And the crowds swarm.

The first pen up for bidding,
Lot 1,
Is the mutton.
The women and girls who are hard
And tough and wiry,
The sort that won’t say die.

It will be bid on first,
A warm up lot,
Not worth much,
Saving the best, the younger,
The quieter and more amiable last.

Lot 1’s skin is not tight
And light and soft and gentle,
But is a well loved map of lines and
Tattoos and calluses and life,
Evidence of a life being lived,

These are women who
Know who they are,
And what they want
And know they deserve better
Than to be served on
Silver platters with apples
In gobs, mouths wide open
For pleasing.

The bidders think Lot 1 are more animal than human,
Cougars, and bitches, and cows.
They don’t need your opinion
To feel secure, or safe,
And choose to love freely and willingly,
which includes the choice of not to love at all.
They bite the hand that feeds them
If they know it is the one that chains them up.
And how dare they be not stick thin,
Smaller and smaller and smaller,
Until nothing but a frame of bones,
Or even better – a speck.
How dare they wear their body for them.

The bidders will buy,
Assuming these women
Can be whipped into
Submission,
Ridden and broken in,
Until knees are bruised and
Mouths are quiet,
And the bit sits gently in their mouths
While the man pulls the reigns.

But women are not animals.

Penis heavy governments can strip away
Female autonomy, and blow up every
Abortion clinic in the world;
Businessmen can gag
And shame the ‘whistleblower’,
Claiming that she did in fact blow their whistle;
And young men, boys,
Can take up the causes as misinformed soldiers,
And fight the war on women in the comment section,
And in group chats as they circulate explicit photos
Sent in confidence and trust;
Women will never be animals,
No matter how much venom
Is laced into the word bitch,
No matter how hard men try
To make the earth under our feet smaller.

Because women are not cows, or fresh meat, or
Items to be bought, sold or traded.
You cannot sell our rights,
Our bodies,
Our hearts,
or us.
We are not for sale.

When the bidders walk up to
The fence of Lot 1,
Where the women
Are hooking their feet up on the railings
Fighting for the open sky,
Where they can be
Exactly what they are – free,
One bidder will tell a woman to smile.

She will flash her teeth.
They compliment her complacency,
It will be later they realise that
A woman’s snarl is as pretty as her smile,
And her bite has always been worse than her bark.

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