This poem illustrates how narrow gender views in Vanuatu can be harmful.

men-vanuatu-childrenOl papa mo ol boe blo Vanuatu, strong tingting blong masculinity emi stap hurtem yufala tu.

Sapos you wantem yu save laekem blo kivim hug.

Sapos yu wantem storian wetem mama blo yu, ol anti, ol sista, hemi oraet!

Sapos yu wantem wokbaot wetem ol fren blo yu we oli ol gel, hemi oraet!

Wan papa hemi gat responsibiliti blo lavem mo tekem kea lo famili blong hem.

Sapos yu laekem blo kuk, hemi oraet.

Hemi oraet sapos yu no kakai mit.

Sapos yu laekem blo lukaotem pikinini, hemi oraet.

I oraet sapos yu no laekem blong plei spot. Samting ia hemi alao.

Sapos yu laekem blo danis, hemi oraet!

Sapos yu laekem blo wajem ol lav muvi… Emi stret!

Sapos yu laekem blo klinim haos, helpem mama or waef, hemi gud tumas!

Sapos yu wantem talemaot ol feeling blo yu lo ol fren blo yu, hemi oraet!

Sapos yu wantem krae lo solda blo fren, blo mama, blo brata, blo sista, blo eni wan… Hemi oraet nomo.

Hemi oraet blo kat emosen. God hemi kivim yu evri kaen emosen, from wanem yu no enjoem?Sapos yu no strong… Hemi oraet!

Sapos yu no save hao blo fixim trak o bildim wan haos, hemi oraet tu.

Sapos yu no laekem strong fasin, hemi oraet.

Sapos yu no wantem go aot wetem fulap woman, be yu laekem blo frenem wan nomo, hemi oraet.

Hemi oraet sapos yu nokat wan woman.

Emi oraet tu blo yu stap wetem wan man.

Sapos yu wantem werem pink, putum mekap, lisin lo Adele o Beyoncé hemi oraet nomo!

Yu save stap olsem yu nomo. No letem nara man i talem se yu no wan man.

Yu save kam eni kaen man we yu wantem.

Yumi evriwan yumi victim blong strong tingting blong masculinity.


This poem was written by Stephanie Ephraim Lekal, Gender Justice & Livelihoods Program Intern at Oxfam in Vanuatu and originally published on their Facebook page

Photo credit: Groovy Banana

Oxfam in Vanuatu’s Gender Justice and Livelihoods program supports community members and especially women, youth, people with disability and people identifying as LGBTQI+ to increase their economic opportunities and address harmful gender norms that are barriers to their economic empowerment.