Salma El-Wardany's Tired, We Are Too

I grow weary of the ‘Dear Woman’ poems, you know the ones I mean.


his is how Salma El-Wardany’s ‘I’m Tired’ starts. As she recounts the tropes of such poetry—a plethora of which exist telling women to love themselves and to be strong and fire—one imagines the collective ‘yes’ and 'sighs’ of women across the world. We know these things. We are these things. Yet, the world keeps telling us these things, instead of doing something about the obstacles in the way of our being.

“Where are your ‘Dear Man’ poems?” El-Wardany asks. “The poems that tell them to drip with gentle grace, and soft is strong?” In this piece, she shines the spotlight on the real issues many women wish someone would address. She takes the gaze off women and fixes it, instead, on the men. She says the things many of us wish we could have articulated since teenagehood and the beginning of being confronted with the list of ways to be a woman.

You wouldn’t have to tell me I was enough if you hadn’t told him I was less. I need a poem that is less she and more he.
— Salma El-Wardany

About Salma

Salma, born in Egypt and raised in North England, is a writer, poet and a voice. Over the years, she has worked with various magazines and institutions including Huffington Post, Bloomberg and The Edinburgh University, telling stories on identity, gender and politics, and challenging the narrative around muslims. She is currently working on her debut novel 'Burka and Bikinis.' Watch her Tedtalk 'Burka and Bikinis' here.

Image: Boris Schmitz.

This poem was written and performed by her. Permission was approved from the author. All rights reserved.