The french word “sous-entendu,” which is also the title of Anne Stevenson’s poem, has two meanings. According to the translation website I used, as a noun “sous-entendu” means an allusion, as a verb it means understood. I absolutely love how Stevenson titled this poem with a word that has more than one meaning! The poem itself, as any girl knows, speaks volumes of truth.
that I don’t know
that as you talk to me
the hand of your mind
taking off my stocking”
Every female knows what it feels like to have a man look at you with those eyes. Eyes that look you up and down as if you are something to be purchased at a grocery store. It really isn’t a pleasant feeling, it’s almost demeaning, as if women are nothing more than something to be bought. The title of this poem is brilliant, really. The title as a noun, an allusion, referring to men thinking they can get away with checking a woman out without directly putting their hands all over her. The title as a verb, understood, referring to the woman knowing exactly what the man is doing without him having to put his hands on her.However, the tone of the poem reminded me of a woman shaking her finger at a young boy in manner such as “don’t you dare even think about it, I know exactly what you’re trying to do!” If only it were that easy in real life! The fact that this poem is within the Gender portion of Chapter 14 makes perfect sense. This poem truly reveals human behavior towards gender differences from the viewpoint of a woman. Oddly enough, this poem seriously reminded me of Britney Spears’ song “Womanizer.” In the song, Britney sings about how she knows exactly the kind of man Stevenson is talking about in her poem and how she won’t be falling for that nonsense. (unfortunately, she really needs to learn how to take her own advice… but that is besides the point…)