With a title like "Women," it should come as no great shock that this poem is all about gender. More specifically, it's about how one of the genders just isn't living life the right way (we're looking at you, ladies). Women don't notice things, they don't love in the right way, and somehow they even use their own kindness against themselves. If our speaker were a teacher, women would get a big fat F on life's report card. The fact that this poem was written by a woman, though, suggests that there's more to this critique than just a list of epic fails.
Questions About Gender
- How might this poem be read differently if it were written by a man?
- How does Louise Bogan's gender influence the way you read this poem?
- We know what the speaker thinks about women, but what are her impressions of men? How can you tell?
- How do you think the speaker wants women to respond to her criticisms? What is she hoping to get out of writing this poem? How can you tell?
Chew on This
Don't take it too hard, ladies. This poem is best read not as a list of insults, but rather as a pep talk—just one of the harshest pep talks ever.
This poem shows us that it's ultimately impossible to make any convincing statements about a whole gender, men or women.