What do women want?
I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what’s underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I’m the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment
from its hanger like I’m choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,
it’ll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.
Kim Addonizio’s poem, “What Do Women Want'” through its harsh and honest style explores the stereotype that a woman must endure in today’s western society. By employing the literary devices, Addonizio is able to convey the message that what women really want is to be understood. The red dress is being used as a metaphor, as a right , and as a weapon aiming at the eyes of today’s western society that has been claiming to be the women’s right advocate.
I love and adore this simple but powerful poem and the message that it delivers.