POET: Lauren Zuniga
PIECE: Personhood
TOPICS DISCUSSED:
Politics and Government
SUMMARY:
Lauren Zuniga discusses the issues about choice, social justice, reproductive rights, rape, and personhood.

Key Lines/Phrases

Key Line/Phrase
Discussion

“You are a person, but you will never need to pass a bill to prove it.”

At the beginning of this poem we understand, Lauren is having a conversation with her grandfather who happens to be a conservative. Fox News is on the TV as she is eating dinner and she’s explaining how distasteful it is. Her grandfather is speaking his beliefs on being pro-life. She explains her reasons for why she is pro-choice. The poet gives us examples of how women may feel they do not have a say in their own bodies as well as for rape victims, LGBTQ, and people in poverty. The artist also gives an example of Rick Santorum’s point of view on rape victims, “Just to make the best out of a bad situation.”

Full Transcript of Poem

my grandfather tells me all beet-red
cheeks and pop chest that he is pro-life
because my mother would not have been
born if roe v wade had happened before
1959 we are at the dinner table Fox News
gurgles from the other room I have lost
my appetite
I say that’s true grandpa it is also
true that I would not have been born if
my mother had had not had safe access to
abortion prior to her pregnancy with me
my daughter would not have been born if
she was made of the sperm that was
forced into me at 17 years old just then
Rick Santorum chimes in from the living
room rape victims should learn to make
the best of a bad situation
Rick Santorum would not have been born
if his mother had known what a douchebag
he was going to be Mississippi Virginia
Colorado you want to legislate
personhood and I for one think that is a
fantastic idea let’s hang person signs
on the 408 thousand children currently
in foster care
let’s give person papers to the
undocumented workers keeping your lawns
so emerald green let’s grant personhood
to gay couples who just want to marry
the person we love
let’s build person size suits of armor
for the transgender children trying to
fit into a culture that refuses to
recognize them let’s write in huge bold
letters you are a person on the walls of
inner-city high schools on the hospital
beds of uninsured workers on the prison
cells and tombs of soldiers killed for
oil let’s give the gift of personhood to
every woman tell them your body is not a
battleground your womb not a campaign
promise your bedroom not artillery see
it is true that some of us would not
have been born if choice have been an
option for our mothers it is also true
that there are still
and losing mothers to dirty basement
clinics there are children that don’t
have clean drinking water 100,000
children were kidnapped and forced into
an army in Uganda sold across their
chests with holy water to protect them
from bullets tell me that their lives
are as important as a fetus see I think
that most Americans think that
legislators were hired to make laws for
the persons that already exist I think
most Americans do not wake up every
morning thinking about when life begins
they think about how to pay their
mortgage how to pay for their children’s
class pictures uniforms braces leukemia
they think about how to sit across the
dinner table from a man born breech in a
small town in Arkansas who believes
exactly the opposite of everything you
know to be true and say grandpa you are
a person but you will never need to pass
a bill to prove it.

-Lauren Zuniga

In-depth Analysis

Personhood, by Lauren Zuniga, reflects on several macro perspective topics that relate to our current sociological issues. This relates to Conflict theory, which is a theory that looks at society as a competition for limited resources. The perspective of conflict theory is a macro-level approach; this theory enables us to have a perspective on the vital issues of personhood. Lauren Zuniga speaks on these issues where Senators, Representatives in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Virginia, Florida, and Colorado want to legislate personhood.
The poet shares her own experiences she has gone through. Lauren Zuniga shares her response to “legislating personhood”. We hear and see on the news, in media, or through first-hand encounter the issues about banning abortion, defining personhood, and how this topic affects everyone in society individually and as a whole. Zuniga addresses and questions the problems that are occurring now with our legislators’ views and acts on abortion. This poem was brought out in 2012, but this issue is still occurring today in 2019. Recently, Alabama and Georgia, passed a law where you cannot have an abortion after being six weeks pregnant. Missouri just passed a bill yesterday on banning abortion after eight weeks pregnant. In the poem, Zuniga is arguing women should have the right to decide what to do with their bodies and law does not define what makes a person.
In the introduction of this poem, Zuniga begins by sharing a conversation that she is having with her grandfather, a supporter of pro-life; she is in opposition of his view. This is a great debate that occurs in our society today. The sociological concepts Lauren Zuniga covers not only discuss abortion, but she speaks on the other issues people are facing that are not getting the attention they need. Zuniga discusses children who are in foster care that, undocumented workers, people in poverty who are doing there best to make a living. The poet argues let’s give personhood to the LGBTQ, students in inner city high schools, uninsured workers, prisoners, soldiers who fought. It is easy to grasp the idea that division caused by social stratification within society contributes to the definition personhood.
The most impacting verse of the poem is when Zuniga makes a connection between; a woman’s body and a battleground, a womb, and a battleground, and your bedroom as artillery. This elucidates symbolic interactionism, which is a micro-level theory that focuses on the relationships among individuals within a society. In this case, it would be the women with personhood. This society faces many conflict issues among what defines a person, “personhood.”
Lauren Zuniga questions what should be focused on personhood, many lives are affected by this, the society is affected by this today. It takes our society as a whole and individually to make a difference. (Student contribution)

On: January 22, 2020| Under: Analysis| Tags: , , ,