Oppression In Qiu Jin's 'Preoccupation'

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Throughout the ages women have been taught that your body is never perfect and that there is always something that is needed to be fixed. The poets use images of oppression on the female body to show the subjugation they faced as humans. For example, foot binding in China was used as a way for women to achieve social mobility and later economic wealth, thus suggesting that the only way a woman could have status was through her beauty (Foreman). Throughout the poem “Preoccupation” Qiu Jin uses images of foot binding as a way to enhance her struggles in fighting oppression through inhumane beauty standards. Qiu Jin states in her poem “Unbinding my feet I clean out a thousand years of poison” thus by taking the bindings off, Jin is expressing…show more content…
This poem parallels “homage to my hips” written by Lucille Clifton, which discusses her own struggles with learning to appreciate and love her body due to the fact that it was not petite like the ideal body society painted during the mid-twentieth century. For through the repetition of the phrase “hips” and the images of freedom by using phrases such as “they go where they want to go” and “these hips have never been enslaved,” Clifton suggests that learning to fight oppression starts with self-love. For in an interview Clifton states “is there something wrong with having hips? We like everything big except females in this culture,” thus Clifton is expressing her distain for the ideals that cause thousands of women across the United states to grow up hating their body (Pate). Thus, “homage to my hips” is a war cry for women to learn to rise up against oppression through expressing love for their own body, which in the poem allows for the speaker to be free. These images of oppression spread negativity, however, by Clifton connotating “hips” with positivity and self-respect she is trying to reinstate confidence and pride in women and their unique body types. Through the usage of images of female oppression both poets try to instill into female across the globe that remaining subjugated is not a
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