Fatal Facades by Fatima Zaidi

It’s always too much or too little
She’s too fancy or too simple
Either too modest or too sinful
The girl that was once cheerful is now fearful
Misguided by societies morals that devalue and defile

I’m not being hostile
But being a woman, you see is awful
Held to an unreasonable model
Filled with slanders and scandals
There are no choices just sacrifices
Avoiding divergence from male guidance
For if one does it comes with high prices
Our quietness cherished there is no compromises
As there is no benefit to be a feminist

It’s a man’s world, he’s the author
He never sees her- she is just a fabricated version in his head
He is the master
She’s just a façade of fake smiles and laughter
She becomes an adapter so to remain a relevant factor
She’s one hell of an actor
Aware of her insignificant role in his chapter
She is stuck in a cycle focusing only on survival
Instructed to contain her voice to tolerate and obey not to become a strain
Told again and again there is no gain in her campaign
The females have always been restrained
Chained by the labels of weak, fragile, even insane
It is not subtle she is discriminated, exploited, mistreated, and cheated
Her personality holds no gravity
Tragically humanities absurdities deemed her a causality
She would never be a cover girl it was unreachable
See this prospect is methodical for her to strive to reach the impossible
If she endures more and more, she won’t be herself anymore
Reflecting then the males’ ideas of her as nothing more than an object to be adored
Nothing beyond an entity of his desire
She’s told to be withdrawn, unheard and mature just as he requires
Abiding by the male masses if she wanted to remain desired
Providing her sire with all he required as he overpowered
With his grand authority she couldn’t conspire

Her life not vital repeatedly told she could be recycled
Not awarded like her brother but seen lesser like her mother
As she grew, she discovered all women weren’t together
Class and color mattered, white women set the ideal standards of beauty and manners
given privileges and pampered
Us darker women of all shades just bystanders continuing to endure hate and slander
Rooted from false depictions as African women shown as angered
Causing their own troubles justifying their struggles
And Muslim women as fragile and reliant obeying their males
But these are just false tales
Told as a scheme to continue the Caucasian prevail
Her big screen character wasn’t authentic it just aligned to Western declare
Upholding the status quo continuing to maintain the current powers
They are clever scammers and planners
Maintaining their set ordains
By veiling minorities disdains
Should I further explain, can you not see the double standards I claim?
Race and class are seen as superior factors
Mistreatment extents are harsher against women of color to create nothing but disaster
Still seen as ‘other’ from the dominating culture thereafter
Maintaining the oppressed as they remain requesting bigger change, protests and fighting to be seen as humane.

We won’t embrace our place dictated by the state
We are not defined by our race or the male gaze
Partaking in the oppositional gaze as our new ways
To fight the plays on screen and torment in communities that we face
We are not who we are portrayed nor are we a machine to just obey the false claims
As we watch we exclaim the insane depictions for it causes many restrictions
Until we have succeeded in destroying the facades
That continue to belittle darker shades and make false claims
This system cannot be accepted it should be corrected
Starting with the power dynamics to be rejected
Around the globe, this is my hope
A new form of domination not one filled with manipulation
That only supports the current power of Caucasians
Let’s start a new discussion with new perceptions
Spreading information not based on the West’s calculations
But by honest education and communication in the right direction
with proper presentation based on true representation
Depowering the prevailing prejudice reputations and classifications
Let’s form a new nation for our generation.



The poem begins with the first few stanzas presenting the impact of the male gaze and the concept of the feminist killjoy in contemporary society regarding how influential the male gaze is on both men and women in shaping their behaviour and attitude. It alters women’s perspective of themselves by learning that complying with the male guidelines associates them with positive desired attributes. In contrast, women who decide to stand up for themselves or diverge from their assigned gender roles (feminists) as unattractive and receive discriminatory attitudes (feminist killjoy). In this patriarchal culture where men are acknowledged as and treated superiorly, their criterion for women is an unrealistic model but portrayed otherwise. This notion of holding women to an unattainable ideal is ‘methodical,’ as it induces women to think they aren’t enough- restraining female’s potential authority in society while preserving male power dynamics. The following stanzas then uncover the more complex composition of power dynamics by directing the attention towards inequalities experienced within women, incorporating the topics of intersectionality, Black feminism, and Islamic feminism, by integrating the recognized ideal of beauty to be regarded as white females distinguishing coloured females as another lower classification not considered with the same privileges. These biases remain and have increased in popularity universally as mainstream popular media displays manipulative narratives that only encourage west perspectives, untruthfully articulating those as reality. Exaggerating stereotypes and condemning the minorities as the problematic members in society- Black women as angry and Muslim women as oppressed. They are deceivingly justifying their mistreatment in Western culture-based societies. The poem includes the oppositional gaze recognizing that more minorities are aware of the critical lens they need to put on when observing popular media as their character portrayal distorts to match the lens of a Caucasian viewer. The narration in the stanzas disputes the false depiction and requests for significant change as the West’s ideas of minorities and their behaviours are unauthentic to reality. Though its universally seen as authentic, it shouldn’t be as its preserving power hierarchies allowing the oppressors to keep oppressing. Finally, the closing stanzas highlight the vitality of correcting the current system of power- hierarchy and race classifications claiming by rejecting contemporary biases and rebuilding a system organized on the foundation of equal and authentic representation.


– Fatima Zaidi