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"This Is Not A Feminist Poem" by WanaWana Udobang

This is not contorted metaphors with neither

punch line nor chorus

This is not a feminist poem

It is a woman learning to trade possessions before

her lover takes his last breath.

She will never get the chance to say goodbye

because those final hours are one match-point

away from the backstroke of ravenous relatives.

You see where we come from, widows learn to bid

their dead farewell even before they are lowered

into the ground.

Because grief requires time and time is a luxury

she cannot afford.

But I don’t want to talk about funeral rites or a

daughter’s non-inheritance

Because this is not a feminist poem

It is a thirteen-year-old leaking between her legs.

She cannot will her waste to stop because culture

demands that babies must birth babies even before

they are whole.

This is Mercy, waiting to be fully formed before the

doctors can fix her. We exchange broken smiles but

mine is crackling with questions and I want to ask,

how does a six year old ask to be gang raped for

lunch after school?

As she fiddles with the beads of a rosary that crawl

around her neck, my lips are too drowsy to ask

God why?

But I am not trying to not be feminist about this


This is not a feminist poem

It is the landlord who pays off your father to clench

his teeth over choking tears for what his son

had done to you.

And your daddy knows that homelessness is too

close to home so he washes of your shame with a

sponge, dabs your wounds with scripture hoping

those words will in turn douse the stench of the

breath, erase the handprints that form maps

across your skin, and glue together all that is

broken of you.

But instead memory has an interesting way of

refusing to disappear, so this is how you exist with

a tape loop in your head playing over and over


I am not here to talk about the kidnap of justice in

my country or whom, how and why we have

refused to pay her ransom

Because this is not a feminist poem

It is piercing screams of gaping mouths choking as

hands stifle their lungs of ambition

It is men in uniform with bellies swollen from

bribe, sworn to protect you but tell you that

domestic matters are family matters.

So you drink up your pain till you are full, your

throat is parched and yet again you begin to thirst

for it yet again.

It is walking around with a womb too hollow to

bear an heir that you take in the seeds of betrayal

wanting it to pull together the remnants of

matrimony. This is what it means to be a real


It is the girls who are sent to school only to come

back home knowing that their future is dangling

between their bodies and their silence, yet deciding

which to betray first.

It is those 2am text messages from your boss’

phone that leaves you reminded that you will

always lose so you grin, dust it off a shoulder and

bear it

You return to your job because this meager wage

pays for your little brother’s tuition and your

mother’s heart medicine.

But this is not a feminist poem

It is acquainting yourself with the normalcy that

your body is a minefield, trampled upon by the

politics of culture

It is a reminder that you are click, you are bait, you

are currency and by virtue of your existence you

are only half human, never equal, never the same.

It is learning that the heavy medals of your success

are meaningless until they are smelted into a ring

on your finger

But I told you at the beginning that this is not a

feminist poem

It is not a rant or a call to action

It is not a call for your attention

It is not a checklist of everything you already know

This is not a feminist poem

This is a poem about life, about rights, for my

sisters who struggle and continue to fight

by WanaWana Udobang

In the vast expanse of contemporary poetry, WanaWana Udobang emerges as a distinct voice challenging conventional notions of feminism. Through her poem, "This Is Not A Feminist Poem," Udobang delves into the complexities of feminist discourse, presenting a nuanced exploration of identity, stereotypes, and intersectionality. In this professional analysis, we will scrutinize the intricate tapestry of Udobang's work, shedding light on the poet herself, the essence of feminism in poetry, the deconstruction of stereotypes, the role of intersectionality in art, and the theme of navigating identity.

Analysing the Poetry Itself:

WanaWana Udobang's "This Is Not A Feminist Poem" is a literary gem that intricately weaves together words to question and challenge societal expectations, particularly those placed upon women. The poet's adept use of language and imagery draws readers into a contemplative space, prompting reflection on the multifaceted nature of feminism and its evolving definitions. The poem, characterized by its depth and subtlety, invites readers to engage in a thoughtful examination of the concepts it encapsulates.

Who is WanaWana Udobang:

WanaWana Udobang, a Nigerian poet and storyteller, is a prominent figure in the contemporary literary landscape. With a background in journalism and a passion for storytelling, Udobang brings a unique perspective to her poetry. Through her work, she navigates the intersection of art and activism, making her a vital contributor to the ongoing conversations surrounding gender, identity, and societal expectations.

Feminism in Poetry:

Udobang's poem stands as a testament to the power of feminist poetry to transcend conventional boundaries. Instead of conforming to established norms, the poet engages in a profound exploration of the multifaceted aspects of womanhood. The poem challenges the notion that feminist poetry must adhere to a predefined framework, advocating for a more inclusive and diverse understanding of feminist ideals within the realm of verse.

Deconstructing Stereotypes:

Central to Udobang's exploration is the deconstruction of stereotypes associated with feminism. Rather than adhering to traditional expectations, the poet dismantles preconceived notions, urging readers to view feminism through a more expansive lens. By doing so, Udobang contributes to the reshaping of societal perceptions, demonstrating that feminism is not a monolithic concept but a complex, evolving discourse that defies simplistic categorizations.

Intersectionality in Art:

Udobang skillfully embraces the concept of intersectionality in her poem, recognizing that women's experiences are shaped by various factors, including race, class, and cultural background. This acknowledgment enriches the narrative, making it more reflective of the diverse and interconnected nature of feminism. Through her art, Udobang emphasizes the importance of inclusivity and unity within the feminist movement.

Navigating Identity:

The poem invites readers to contemplate their own identities and the roles society assigns based on gender. Udobang navigates the complexities of identity with finesse, encouraging individuals to question societal norms and redefine their relationship with feminism. By fostering a deeper self-awareness, the poet empowers readers to navigate their identities beyond prescribed limitations.

WanaWana Udobang's "This Is Not A Feminist Poem" stands as a testament to the transformative potential of poetry within feminist discourse. Through a meticulous analysis of the poem, we have explored the intricacies of Udobang's artistic mind, her role as a prominent literary figure, and the profound themes embedded in her work. In deconstructing stereotypes, embracing intersectionality, and navigating identity, Udobang contributes to a broader conversation about the ever-evolving landscape of feminism. As we conclude this analysis, let us reflect on the profound words of Udobang herself:

 "Feminism, like poetry, defies confinement – it is a dynamic force that demands a continuous exploration of its depths." - WanaWana Udobang

Curator Montse Domínguez i Munllonch and No More Muses



Several academic sources related to the intersection of gender and race in African literature. These sources offer valuable insights into the intersection of gender and race in the context of African literature, addressing issues of discrimination, identity, and representation.Here are some of the relevant academic journals and articles:

1. "African-American Women: The Oppressive Intersection of Gender, Race and Class" - This article discusses the oppression faced by African-American women due to the intersection of gender, race, and class. It delves into the challenges and discrimination experienced by black women, addressing issues such as racial oppression, sex discrimination, and class stratification[1].

2. "Contemporary fictional representations of sexualities from authoritarian African contexts" - This study explores the representation of sexualities in African literature. While the specific focus is on sexualities, the intersection of gender and race is likely to be discussed within the context of the broader literary analysis[2].

3. "An Immigrant Black Woman in America: An Intersectional Analysis of Adichie’s Americanah" - This source provides an intersectional analysis of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel "Americanah," focusing on the discrimination faced by the protagonist, an immigrant black woman, in the United States. The analysis likely addresses the intersection of gender and race within the novel[3].

4. "Journal of Research Initiatives" - This journal contains a research study designed to determine how the intersection of race and gender identities impacts individuals. While the specific focus of the study is not provided in the search results, the intersection of race and gender is likely to be a central theme within the research[4].

5. "Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence" - This article by Kimberlé Crenshaw discusses the concept of intersectionality, which addresses how various forms of social inequality, such as race, gender, and class, intersect and overlap. While the article may not focus specifically on African literature, it provides a foundational understanding of intersectionality, which is relevant to the study of gender and race in literature[5].


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