homage to my hips
by Lucille Clifton
homage to my hips Theme of Women and Femininity
Let's face it: women face some pretty serious (and seriously damaging) cultural pressures to be skinnier, to "fit" into an idealized notion of beauty or a new pair of skinny jeans. Clifton's poem is acutely aware of all of these pressures, even though the poem doesn't address them directly. In fact, "homage to my hips" represents a conscious decision not to bow to cultural pressures. Clifton's speaker is in love with her own body – a message that any woman should be proud to call her own.
Questions About Women and Femininity
- How old do you think the speaker is? Does her age matter? Why or why not?
- Could this poem be about a man? Why or why not?
- How does this poem address popular conceptions of beautiful women?
- Do you think that this poem is addressed to a specific audience? If so, who?
Chew on This
This poem is about an "every woman" – a person who could stand in for just about any woman imaginable.
This poem is special precisely because the speaker realizes she's not just another "normal" body – she's uniquely beautiful.