homage to my hips
by Lucille Clifton
This is the woman that all women dream of becoming. She's confident, articulate, and honest with herself. She knows that there are all sorts of labels that people would like to attach to her – or her body – and that some of the words, like, say, "big," aren't ones that society tends to use kindly.
But that doesn't bother her one bit. Nope, she's proud of her "big" hips because they're big. In fact, she's so proud that she states it early on in the poem: "these hips are big hips" (1). When she does so, we learn two things: our speaker is well aware of society's problems with female body images. And our speaker doesn't care about those problems in the slightest.
If you haven't noticed, our speaker doesn't give us much in the way of description. Sure, we know that her hips are "big." But, by the end of the poem, we don't have any better picture of her hips than that. What we do get are plenty of descriptions of how her hips move in the world – how they're powerful, and magical, and even seductive when she wants them to be. In other words, our speaker isn't as interested in how her hips look as in how they act. And believe us, this is a woman of action!