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By France Archange, Oakwood University

A response to Jamaica Kincaid’s “Girl”

Tuck your shirt in your pants when going to school; always put on a belt, your pants sagging isn’t a good look; Wear blues and grays and whites, don’t wear pinks and purples and beiges, you aren’t a girl you know; This is how you kick a ball because you won’t be playing with dolls; Don’t play with little girls, you don’t need to learn how to interact with them; Wake up early to chop wood for the fire, laziness isn’t your middle name; This is how to hem your pants so they flap in the wind like the waste man you want to become; but I don’t want to be a wasteman; this is how you keep your tears away from peering eyes, no one needs to know your business and besides you’re going to be a man, your feelings don’t need to be shared; Look at the engineers and the lawyers and the doctors work; Is it true you’re writing for pleasure? Avoid the friends you want to rap with, hang out with the ones who listen to their parents; Don’t look your father in the eyes; Treat your mother like she matters and don’t break her heart; this is how you choose a woman, watch her waist and her face, and don’t forget her hands; can she handle a skillet? Can she grasp an iron? Can she hit a child? Can she handle you? When you are finding love, don’t fall in it or grow in it, rule it so it doesn’t rule you; This is how you sit on the chair while waiting for your wife to cook your food after a long day’s work; this is how to cross your legs while she stands far away; don’t hug her or kiss her or talk to her or help her while she cares for you, you don’t want your status to be taken for granted; and this is how you tell your children you love them, let your face and hands do the talking; but what if they’re scared of me? You mean to tell me that after all that you’re going to be the kind of man that can’t take control of his household?

About the Author

France is a lover of literature, writing, people, cookies and cream ice cream, science, and research who enjoys being a student of life as it develops. Her mission is to share the diverse skills, experiences, and lessons she learns to make equally diverse contributions in literature, medicine, and any other field she finds herself passionate about. She lives in Huntsville, Alabama where she studies Professional Writing and Biology at Oakwood University.

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