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Clifton’s “Homage to My Hips”: Who Is the Speaker?

The poem “homage to my hips” provide sufficient information to assume the author. Indicating body parts as the main focus of the poem, the author identifies several topics relevant to modern society. From the first lines, it can be noticed that “these hips” are directed at a woman’s body. This assumption is confirmed in the lines “to put a spell on a man and spin him like a top” (Clifton, n.d.). Moreover, it could be predicted that this message is from African American women. Naturally, black women have wider hips and more curvy body proportions. Therefore, the speaker is an African American woman who fights for freedom of body and mind.

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Starting from the first lines, the protest against the unrealistic body standards dictated by the beauty industry could be observed. It is no secret that modern beauty standards require ideological body parameters from women ignoring their inheritance. Following the desire to fit these standards, millions of women go through various challenges. In lines “these hips are bigs hips they need space to move around in” an author highlights her unwillingness to correspond to beauty standards that require hips to be thin (Clifton, n.d.). Moreover, in the next lines, “they don’t fit into little petty places,” an author states that it is nothing wrong with hips that do not fit into little petty places (Clifton, n.d.). These lines could be considered either as a cry from the heart or disapproval of patriarchal beauty standards. Unrealistic body images do not allow a woman to be free. This could be seen in the lines “these hips are free hips” (Clifton, n.d.). Body protest is one of the main concerns of the poem.

Another consideration related to the poem is its message against patriarchy. The line “they don’t like to be held back” provides a strong response and desire to eliminate restrictions (Clifton, n.d.). Women want to keep their rights and choice without man’s interruption. In the lines, “they go where they want to go, they do what they want to do.”

A woman requires freedom from society’s opinions and judgments (Clifton, n.d.). These lines also could be addressed to the patriarchal structure that selects and demand women to present certain roles ignoring their ambitions. Next lines “these hips are mighty hips. these hips are magic hips.”

indicates the ability of a woman to be in power (Clifton, n.d.). It is clearly expressed; however, “mighty” and “magic” refer to women’s ability to overcome all challenges. The last lines “I have known them to put a spell on a man and spin him like a top!”

reflect an author’s control over her body and ability to use her sexuality to manipulate men. (Clifton, n.d.) Nevertheless, it could have another meaning that shows that woman accepts her body and reject any discrimination from the man side.

Understanding the motives of the author, it is easier to picture her. In the beginning, it was assumed that the speaker was African American woman because of her hips size. However, at this point, it could be any woman regardless of race and ethnicity. This is a strong message to the world that a normal body and big hips are common among women. Beauty standards should not affect women’s confidence and push them to the limits. Moreover, a woman should be able to decide by herself without patriarchal judgment. The speaker could be any woman who accepts her body and realize her power.

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Reference

Clifton, L. (n.d.). Homage to my hips by Lucille Clifton. Poetry Foundation. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, November 10). Clifton’s “Homage to My Hips”: Who Is the Speaker? https://studycorgi.com/cliftons-homage-to-my-hips-who-is-the-speaker/

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StudyCorgi. "Clifton’s “Homage to My Hips”: Who Is the Speaker?" November 10, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/cliftons-homage-to-my-hips-who-is-the-speaker/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Clifton’s “Homage to My Hips”: Who Is the Speaker?" November 10, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/cliftons-homage-to-my-hips-who-is-the-speaker/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Clifton’s “Homage to My Hips”: Who Is the Speaker'. 10 November.

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