learn at very young ages
that outer beauty is the water-
oasis in the desert they crave.

They are taught
to smile in plaster of Paris,
hypocrites behind closed doors.
They cut themselves in secret, starve
for passion.

Each young lady
feigning optimism
and poise, accepts her place
below male fantasies,

above the unsightly.
They learn to heave aside the weak, to shun the strong
and not to trust anyone,
in a world of facades,
and hair spray.