Ariana Brown and Arati Warrier's "Invisible" Spoken Word Poem Captures the Feeling of Not Having a Voice

In the words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (and made famous by Beyoncé), "We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller." And it is unfortunately, the truth, as Ariana Brown and Arati Warrier remind us in their spoken-word poem, "Invisible," which they performed at the 2014 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. The performance was hauntingly memorable, and whether we like it or not, probably something most women can identify with.

The women, who were representing University of Texas Austin during the competition's prelims, talk about everything from first kisses to high school bullying to cutting, and through all of these experiences lies the common thread of feeling too afraid — or just not knowing how — to speak out. Because speaking out isn't easy in a world that tells young girls that what they have to say doesn't matter. That their voice isn't important.

And the implications of this are far-reaching — from girls not knowing how to tell someone "no" when they're uncomfortable to girls not rising to leadership positions at any level. When we tell young women that no one is listening to them, it's no surprise that so many of start to feel invisible and voiceless. As Brown and Warrier remind us, though, just because someone is quiet doesn't mean they don't have a lot to say.

Button Poetry on YouTube

Image: Button Poetry/YouTube