I’ve experienced catcalling and street harassment since the age of 10.
I actually used to go out of my way to hide my curves with baggy clothes to avoid the cat-calls. It made me feel dirty and insecure.
When I wrote this poem, it was not to educate men about why street harassment is unwelcome.
I wrote it to tell my story, to paint a picture of how my body was subject to a morphing of sorts every time I walked out of the house.
The poem is rich with figurative language, and so I gathered a group of women to help transform the language into an actual living breathing visual. Once we met and discussed our experiences, we knew there was a need to change this imposed view of ourselves, and that’s how we came up with the idea of using art to reclaim our power.
“Elephant” is a testament that our bodies are powerful beyond measure. They are ours to own—unapologetically—and by doing so, we give other people who identify as women permission to be fearless and fierce.
“Elephant” reminds us that sometimes the best art is existing on purpose.
(This video is a film adaption of a poem written by Nuyorican poet Elisabet Velasquez, performed by dancer and choreographer Keomi Tarver, with body paint done by Alicia Cobb. The video was directed, filmed, and edited by Connie Chavez, and produced by Wendy Angulo.)
Author: Elisabet Velasquez
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Catherine Monkman