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homage to my hips

homage to my hips

by Lucille Clifton

Women and Femininity Theme

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

  1. How old do you think the speaker is? Does her age matter? Why or why not?
  2. Could this poem be about a man? Why or why not?
  3. How does this poem address popular conceptions of beautiful women?
  4. Do you think that this poem is addressed to a specific audience? If so, who?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

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.

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