Vita E. Cleveland., a poet and musician from Cleveland, Ohio; and Kayla Weeden, a DePaul University student from Vermont, performed music and recited their poems at the Women and Children First Bookstore on March 2, as part of a series of events commemorating Women's History Month.
Their works intertwined, conveying the challenges, dreams, passions, humor and everyday lives of their unique identities, covering topics such as one-night stands, gender stereotypes, suicide, adoption, dating and relationships.
"Speaking for myself, just bad things inspire me. When really shitty things happen, I write so much," Kayla said. One example is her poem Panera News, in which she humorously recalls her "Panera Bread sugar daddy," who offered Kayla fast food in exchange for nude photos through a dating app.
"A lot of my poems are reactionary, especially given the intersections which Kayla and I both exist," Vita said.
In Studfem, Vita mocks gender stereotypes and urges one to embrace both the "masc" and "fem" qualities: "Socks with Chucks strutting with skirts and button-down shirts and fingernails painted," ready to bench press "not to sit on the sidelines and wait for your validation."
"There [are] layers to this kind of fem, depth to this dapper beauty in front of your very eyes," Vita said.