April is National Poetry Month so we’re celebrating the only way we know how — with women whose words make us feel good in our skin again.
Research from the Mental Health Foundation found that ‘idealized’ media images aren’t just undermining our self-confidence, but they are also a factor in poor mental wellness. These studies have also shown that “higher body dissatisfaction is associated with a poorer quality of life.”
While the media can negatively contribute to the mental aspect of our health, there is also media and literature that negates it by empowering all types of bodies and people. While there’s darkness in these spaces, there’s also light.
Words have a way of making us feel at home in ourselves, and words of affirmation are a great way to celebrate this month, our bodies, and our mental health. It’s proven that self-affirmation activates well-known reward centers in the brain — some of the same ones that respond to other pleasurable experiences, like eating your favorite meal or winning a prize.
Here are three poets spanning three generations that are making women everywhere and of all backgrounds feel beautiful and more of themselves.
Gen Z poet Amanda Gorman became a household name this year after performing her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration and then another at the Super Bowl LV. She’s penned The Hill We Climb And Other Poems and Change Sings, which is a colorful and impactful children’s book. At age twenty-two, she is the sixth and youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. Her writing and work focus on the environment, racial equality, and gender justice, and she’s broached topics like human endurance, courage, and meaning in various poems. There’s no doubt that Amanda’s words will make you feel seen; like anything is possible — especially if you are a girl of color.
We the successors of a country and a time
where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother