In an intimate upstairs space lit up by tinkering and twinkling white Christmas lights, impassioned discussions and artistic reflections on the pain of gender abuse were held.
On Monday night, Musiikki Café hosted a coffeehouse as part of Women’s Worth Week (WWW), in hopes of promoting new and alternative ways of thinking about gender. Performances included piano ballads, monologue pieces, poems and guitar covers, each of which served to recreate the emotional pain experienced as a result of gender abuse.
Upon entering the venue, I could feel myself settling into a night filled with open hearts and an open dialogue on violence against women and self-esteem issues.
One particular monologue by Elliot Maxwell called to attention what it means to be a man and resonated with me most — entitled “And You Call Yourself a Nice Guy”.
It was this phrase that encapsulated the monologue: “A man does not see a woman — he sees expectation.”
The fast-paced nature hit audiences right to the bone and brought forth the very purpose of WWW: to not be held down by gender.
He encouraged the audience to think about how we see ourselves in light of his own experiences.
“How many of you have looked in the mirror and been pleased with your appearance? Sometimes we just have to learn to take the makeup off and see the beauty from within ourselves,” said one of the female vocal leads of the Queen’s music club’s folk group, before covering Colbie Caillat’s hit ballad “Try”. In a world where we are surrounded by Hollywood-level perfection, we’re urged by society to change in order be better physical versions of ourselves. What the cover pleaded for us to do was bestow a stronger sense of self-worth and self-love within the image of ourselves — the primary function on which WWW operates.
The venue of the downtown café, evocative of an ‘alternative’ coffeehouse vibe, allowed for these student artists of all kinds to reflect on their experiences of gendered worth in what was a marvelous start to the week ahead.
Adriana Sgromo presented her series of poems, one of which focused on a positive sense of self-worth and how that brought a positive romantic relationship for her.
The closing lines of this poem stood out among the rest: “One of these days in the shade/I’ll learn how my light is made.
“Indeed, the lesson to learn from here, more than focusing on women’s issues as a whole, is the most important relationship most we must cultivate: the ones with ourselves,” Sgromo said.
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