This article discusses patriarchy and sexuality portrayed in Milk and Honey; a poetry collection written by Canadian author Rupi Kaur. Kaur is an amazing poet, artist, and performer who touches on trauma, feminism, migration, love, and loss in her works. Milk and Honey is a unique book of poetry as it combines written poetry with line art images. The collection is split into four chapters: “the hurting,” “the loving,” “the breaking,” and “the healing.” This research aims to show how the illustrations that appear alongside the poems have amplified the speaker’s voice in response to patriarchy and sexuality. This study deployed a descriptive, qualitative approach with close textual analysis. The illustrations are highly meaningful in how they intimately depict women's bodies. Thus, these poems were analyzed within the framework of feminist literary criticism. Existing research will be considered to define the terms of the study and enrich discussion of patriarchy and women’s issues. The results show that patriarchal traditions portrayed in the poems deem women as inferior, marginalizing them in a family setting (as a mother and daughter), in the setting of romantic or intimate relationships, and even in the social and economic environment due to cultural norms. It is also revealed that women and their sexuality functioned as recreational objects for males' pleasure. Within the text, women are expected to be sexually submissive, thus prone to sexual abuse in a patriarchal society. However, the speaker consistently expresses her stance against these patriarchal values throughout all chapters of this poetry collection. In conclusion, this work criticizes patriarchy and its treatment of sexuality by presenting the speaker’s experiences of patriarchy while also taking a stand against it through poems and illustrations.
Siva, Renidia Audinia; Rosida, Ida; and Azwar, Muhammad
"Unraveling Milk and Honey: Women’s Voice, Patriarchy, and Sexuality,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 25:
1, Article 17.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol25/iss1/17