GCS Poetry Slam – Part 4: ‘Standards’ by Alice Viale (the Winner!)

Over the last few days we have published a series of articles featuring the shortlisted and winning poems written by our talented Grade 9 students.  Today is the final poem . . .

To recap, the poems were selected by guest judge, the award-winning Emirati poet, Afra Atiq, and GCS Head of English, Judith Shannon, at the special Secondary Assembly held last week.  

Why?  Well, it is simply because their poems are pieces of art that are truly inspiring and beautifully written from the heart.  Their live performances on stage at the Assembly were raw and emotional, and we believe that each of the students deserves their own unique platform.  We have also including a video clip of their recitals.

Read.  Watch.  Feel.  Connect.  Be.

Today’s poem – the final poem and selected as the COMPETITION WINNER – is by Alice Viale, Grade 9A (Winner)


Everyday we get fed by the media
On what were supposed to look like
What is the perfect body?
How can we achieve it?
These standards tell me what good and what’s bad
About my body
As if that’s going to change anything.
You can’t cut out someone flaws with scissors as if they were paper
You can’t throw away someone’s insecurities as if they were trash.
I look in the mirror
And like I knife
I reshape
My hips
My thighs
And my calf
And I’m still not perfect
I look in the mirror
pulling and
My flaws
And I’m still not perfect
But we must be…
We must all be perfect from our head to our toes
Thin waist
Perfect face
Red lips
Wide hips
But that not all,
Long legs
Big eyes
Strong thighs
High cheeks
And a perfect physique
I don’t measure time: I’m not an hourglass
I’m not made of plastic: I’m not a Barbie
I don’t scream lies: I’m not a magazine cover
Where photoshop exists.
Girls hear their faults whispered in their ear
Every minute of
Every hour of
And it gets to them…
Because they feed us negativity
instead of feeding us carbs
Instead of feeding us fat
Instead of feeding us sugar
Because that makes us look bad
By: Alice Viale
And that’s still not enough,
Because we must all be 5 ft 8
But not an inch more!
Because that’s too tall.
I wanna say something
But your impossible goals
And unreachable standards
Have Already corrupted me like a virus
And got me frozen on the spot.
I’m not play-doh for you to stretch me and shape me how you want too
I’m already given double standards to obey
Be fit but not too buff
Be tall but not too tall
Be skinny but still have curves
Be tanned but still have fair skin! Yet…
I look in the mirror and see beauty
I look in the mirror and want nothing to change
Because my thighs are not small and that’s okay
And I’m covered in pimples and that’s okay
And I have hairy arms and that’s okay
And my knees are weird
And my elbows are pointy
And my nails are too short
And I still perfect to me.


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