The Perfect Family
By Zsuzsanna Juhasz, age 15, Maryland.
The father figure stands above,
No one can compare, just because.
Goes to work, and brings home the money,
While the rest stay at home, and wait for daddy.
We eat when he does, we smile when he looks,
We do what he says, or we get into trouble.
His word above ours. That’s how it has always been,
Because a change in tradition goes against everything he says.
The mother of the house doesn’t leave,
She’s not a human, she’s property.
When they wed, the maiden names goes too,
That’s the way it’s been, what should we do?
She cooks, she cleans, she obeys every word,
No speaking out, or she gets hurt.
She’s the uplifting spirit that we all need,
Unless she’s hushed, she just washes and feeds.
The eldest daughter, the pride and joy,
The one to go on and have kids of her own.
She must leave college, to marry a man,
She must do what she’s told, because she’s a woman.
Soon she will learn, what she must do,
It’s her “honor,” it’s her “duty” to be told what to do.
She takes the abuse, she holds it all in,
A sound out of her, would ruin the perfect image.
The youngest son, who learns from the father,
Does anything he says, and learns from his lectures.
He takes careful notes, so he knows what to do,
Like how to sit on the couch and work a grill too.
Looking at girls, poking at skirts,
Blaming their impulses on simply being a flirt.
Growing older, carrying his father’s beliefs,
One day he’ll become who his father turned out to be.
Men go to work, and women just stay at home,
Why change now? That’s the way it’s always been!
“Stop nagging and speaking, and clean the house!”
It’s written in cold blood to be as quiet as a mouse.
Nothing will really change, it’s all an illusion,
To make you grow up to be just like your father.
“What do you mean you don’t like it? That’s how it’s always been!
One day you’ll know when you’re married and have three kids.”
By Zsuzsanna Juhasz, age 15, Maryland. She adds: “My inspiration for this poem was the study of family norms in history, during the 50s and 60s. I’m currently enrolled in AP United States History, and when I wrote the poem, we were learning about how the average middle class family lived, and what life was like for the typical family. I thought it was incredibly interesting topic, especially when learning about Betty Friedan and how she challenged this observation, eventually publishing her own novel, The Feminie Mystique.
“I am Hungarian; I was born in the capitol, Budapest. My parents are from there, and my family and I moved here when I was just one year old.”