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"Just Because..." Student Poems about Shattering Stereotypes and Embracing our True Selves (*New Poem Added!)

Hello World Pulse!

The beautiful young women in my Global Girls Group in a High School in Portland, Maine recently completed a poetry exercise. Here they share their voices in poetic form to give us insight into who they truly are, and remind us how dangerous labels can be. See the pictures below to read their hand-written versions of these poems.


Just because I am calm
Doesn't mean I don't have an opinion
Doesn't mean I don't know my rights
Doesn't mean I am going to submit myself to others
I am peaceful

Just because I am single
Doesn't mean I don't love
Doesn't mean I am a prostitute
Doesn't mean I am hopeless
I am happy

Just because I am talkative
Doesn't mean I am a liar
Doesn't mean I gossip
Doesn't mean I am not respectful
I am proud of myself

Just because I am a woman
Doesn't mean I don't deserve respect
Doesn't mean I am fragile
Doesn't mean I am emotional
I am strong


Just because I am African-American
Doesn't mean I am poor
Doesn't mean I am uneducated
I am friendly and open to all

Just because I am a Muslim girl
Doesn't mean I am oppressed
Doesn't mean I am forced to do anything
Doesn't mean I am the daughter of a terrorist
I am liberated

Just because I am young
Doesn't mean I'm not mature
Doesn't mean I'm dumb
Doesn't mean I can't make rational decisions
I am an individual


Just because I am:
Doesn't mean I hate America
Doesn't mean I am a terrorist
Doesn't mean I'm not a feminist
Doesn't mean my voice won't be heard
Doesn't mean I'm not a dreamer
Doesn't mean I can't change the world
I am a silent Muslim-American Leader

JUST BECAUSE by Claudia:

Just because I am a teenage girl
Doesn't mean I hate school
Doesn't mean I dress inappropriately to get boys attention
Doesn't mean I stay all night on social media
I am different

Just because I am quiet
Doesn't mean I don't have a voice
Doesn't mean I don't see what you're doing
Doesn't mean I am naive
I am strong

Just because I smile
Doesn't mean I am happy
Doesn't mean I don't cry
Doesn't mean I don't get sad
I am human


Just because I am a feminist
Doesn't mean I am stern
Doesn't mean I hate men
Doesn't mean I see them as 'beneath me'
I am a fighter for gender equality
From both perspectives



Osai's picture


Dear Karly,

These pieces are so well thought out, catchy and interesting to read. I am amazed at the clarity of thought of the writers and how beautifully they composed their message.

I find the poem by Claudia the most striking where she talks about being quiet.: "Just because I am quiet doesn't mean I donot have a voice". It reflects what Worldpulse seeks to achieve giving women a voice.

Thanks so much for sharing.

Best wishes,

Twitter: @livingtruely

Karly N's picture

Thank you!

Dear Osai,

Thank you so much for your kind and supportive words. They mean a lot of all of us!

pelamutunzi's picture


the sentiments of the girls are powerful and i want my students to do something similar. it would be very important to have students in different parts of the world sharing experiences to see how far the struggle for women emancipation and empowerment is. do you think this kind of exchange would be possible

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.

Karly N's picture

Wonderful idea!

Dear Pela,

Thank you so much for your comment of support and encouragement. I LOVE the idea of a cultural exchange between the girls in my group and yours. We are in Portland, ME in the US. Where are you located? I would love to hear more about your students and your ideas to make this happen. So look forward to it!



pelamutunzi's picture

im thinking

im thinking about the best way. i know skype could work with a small group. and maybe penpals especially now where they can use social media. im just brainstorming here what do you think? im in harare zimbabwe. does this make any sense. we can refine this and see how to go about it. so looking forward to this.


we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.

Karly N's picture


We would love to skype and be penpals!! I know the time difference might be a problem. I only see the girls once a week in the afternoon, on Tuesdays at 2:30pm my time (which I think is around 9:30pm your time). Why don't we start with penpals and then try to figure out a way to skype? When I see the girls on Tuesday we will figure out a way to do this, and then send you a letter together on WorldPulse. :) So excited! Thank you Pela!

Kim Crane's picture


This is such a lovely connection unfolding. If this exchange happens, I hope you'll document and share on World Pulse!

Kim Crane
World Pulse Content Coordinator

Karly N's picture


Thank you, Kim! We're so excited about it too. Thanks for your words of support. We'll keep WP updated for sure :)

pelamutunzi's picture

oh cant wait

that is truly amazing. yes the time is an issue. i will also discuss what is possible with my students but penpals is a great way to start. i will also discuss with my girls here but they are also excited and cant wait. will also be sharing on WorldPulse


we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.

pelamutunzi's picture

and kim

and kim thank you. WP has given us this platform and we will make it happen. just love the idea of distance not being a barrier anymore.

we may be powerless to stop an injustice but let there never be a time we fail to protest.

maombi's picture

D'accord avec vous

merci beaucoup,suis vraiment confortée

KarlyKay's picture


Thank you so much for your beautiful support. :)

ikirimat's picture

Nice, reminds us how we felt

Nice, reminds us how we felt when growing up and how no one understood what we felt like. its also a reminder to all of us to be considerate and patient.

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."

Karly N's picture

Thank you :)

Thank you Grace. Your support and empathy are truly appreciated, and you are so right.

Much love,

Soumya Vilekar's picture

Intense perspective

Dear Karly,
It was an amazing share by you of the poems written by the young students. Surely,the poems show the insight of what they believe and have experienced.How strong and intense the discord and chaos of the world around affects them can be seen through these poems. The" Just because " written by Ciham speaks of her individual respect for humanity and brotherhood through her universal message of being human .
Even Claudia speaks of a voice which can be heard by all .
The article really gives us a thought of how strong the impact can be when we label things ,people,communities,nations in front of the young minds and how practically and clearly these people can show the lost ones their way.
Best wishes,

Karly N's picture

Thank you!

Dear Soumya,

Thank you so much for these beautiful words. They are appreciated by all of us. With love and respect, Karly

Mauwa Brigitte's picture


Vraiment, je suis de même avis avec vous pour ce poème qui touche mon cœur et la valeur de la femme, une voix faible mais puissante, forte pour la transformation de la personnalité dès le berceau dans notre famille.


Karly N's picture


Vos mots signifient beaucoup.

Karly N's picture

Thank you!

Thank you all for your beautiful words of encouragement and inspiration. :)

Lea's picture

Wow, Karly, these are

Wow, Karly, these are absolutely amazing poems and so heartfelt and genuine. I'm so impressed by the students have been able to produce and by your desire to teach them to respect and embrace their multiple identities. As teachers, we need to encourage our students to develop a sense of themselves and more importantly to appreciate and understand differences, which is what you are doing.
I really applaud you for all of your work and would love to hear more about this group!
Fantastic work! You're truly making a difference!

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