What Does the Poem “homage to My Hips” by Lucille Clifton Mean?

The poem “homage to my hips” by Lucille Clifton is meant to convey the author’s embrace of her femininity and her body. She uses metaphors throughout the poem to convey her acceptance of her own body and to urge other women to do the same. The poem also challenges social norms that apply to women and the beauty ideal. Additionally, Clifton alludes to the need for empowering women.

In the opening lines of “Homage to My Hips,” Clifton describes how her hips are big and how “they don’t fit into little petty places.” This line explains how the size and shape of her hips do not fit into the socially accepted beauty ideal of thinness. She then talks about her hips being free and how “these hips have never been enslaved.” This line is meant to be symbolic of the author’s belief that women are held to certain standards, especially when it comes to appearance and body type. In this sense, the author uses this statement about her hips to allude to the fact that some women are enslaved by social norms and expectations if they are unable to accept their body as it is. Clifton ends the poem by stating, “these hips are magic hips, I have known them to put a spell on a man and spin him like a top.” Clifton is then expressing how she is empowered, despite the fact that her hips are unable to fit into the beauty ideal.