The “Homage to My Hips” Poem by Lucille Clifton
In the poem “Homage to My Hips” by Lucille Clifton, the speaker is a woman other ladies dream of becoming. This poetry is the glorification of the female body of an African American woman. It is a consolidation of the idea that every woman is independent and has a right to love herself and decide what she wants to be, ignoring the opinions of others about her body.
The speaker of this poem is confident, articulate, and honest with herself; she understands that people desire to attach different types of labels to her or her body. However, it does not bother her; although she knows she has large hips, she is pretty satisfied. This woman is so proud that she mentions them early in the poem, calling them “bid hips” (Clifton, 1987, line 1). Nevertheless, these statements show readers that the speaker fully understands the problems in her society concerning the images of the female body. However, the speaker does not care about the belief of other people. She considers that the female body is not an object that can be evaluated. It is the source from which women draw strength, sexuality, and inner freedom.
During her time, it was hard to find a photo of a woman with such hips in fashion magazines and see a model on the catwalk with such hips. However, the heroine of “Homage to My Hips” is not anxious about it, claiming that her “hips need space to move around in,” and “do not fit into little petty places” (Clifton, 1987, lines 2-5). She is not ready to allow anybody to tell how her body should look like. It is evident from her statement that “these hips are free hips,” that they have never been enslaved by fashion standards or convention (Clifton, 1987, line 5-6). She cares less about measuring herself using anyone’s specifications because she has her way of measuring herself.
This woman knows that her hips are big, magical, mighty, and powerful hips capable of putting a spell on a man and spinning him like a top, but it cannot stop her from loving herself. Thus, the speaker of Homage to My Hips claims the women’s bodies should not serve as something that other people can blame. She is sure that feminity can be defined by someone else.
Clifton, L. (1987). Homage to my Hips. Web.