A/N: I understand women pass judgement on men as well, and that women judge each other. Really, this is just a small piece of what's going on in my head. A lot of my friends have been struggling with their self-confidence lately, and I started working in retail...It might be getting to me. Anyway, R&R me, I'll R&R you.

Trade Off

We offer our bodies as commodity.

We sell it for whatever price we can

because it's damaged and broken,

or at least that's what the label says.

Even if we know it's fine on the inside,

just a little too thin or curved on the outside,

we know no one will take it off the shelf

unless we can make it worth their while.

But bodies aren't meant to be bartered over

with the trade-offs and pros and cons discussed

in front of your ears like some kind of mannequin.

We freeze, static, the sound of our real blood

rushing through our real veins almost sounds as real

as the mannequin's plastic perfect condition.

They talk about how we'll look in their living rooms,

whether we match the kinds of cars they drive,

how much we can impress their friends,

how much we can contribute to the rent.

We fret over the packaging,

measuring our chests to the inch,

counting the number of freckles on our faces,

and highlights in our hair and dollars in our wallets.

Like some kind of store display, we dress ourselves up,

press ourselves up to the window, try to shine

brighter than the store next door, the one with the streamers

and lower prices and bigger chests and less freckles.

They measure the curve of our stomachs,

run their hands down our legs, try to determine

our reaction to their clear mistreatment of the merchandise.

Who are they to open the casing, pick us all apart,

comparing one flavor to the next and dropping the rest?

Dropping, picking up, brushing off, putting us on clearance

when we haven't ever gone out of style yet?

There's never any warning, a moment in the front window,

buried in a corner the next.

And my real shoulders hurt, and my real head is spinning

with thoughts and ideas and pain and joy.

Have they ever tried to hold a conversation with a mannequin?