Throughout this poem, the author uses forms of heuristics in order for the reader to better grasp the hidden meaning within the text. Kim Addonizio, the author of “What Do Women Want” portrays sameness in her text by repetitions “I want,” “red dress,” “walk,” “I” and “me” are all examples of how sameness is represented. These words are expressed from the narrator’s point of view, giving the reader an insight on how she feels. These repetitions in the poem express how the narrator was able to go against the norm and march to her own beat. By going against what is expected she was fighting society and its views because to her being judged was the least of her worries. She chose to stand out, and with the freedom she received, consequences followed. The sameness of these words represents her choice to become an individual. By using the repetitions “I want” and “red dress” it makes the reader understand her determination to obtain it. “I want to wear it until someone tears it off me,” this line from the poem gives the reader the idea that this dress is not accepted by society. Therefore proving the fact that she is standing up to society with this dress. The use of the repetitions “walk,” “I” and “me” shows the narrator’s desire to go wherever she wants in this dress to benefit herself.
The sameness in these words show an increase in her determination to become an individual. The use of binaries in this poem creates a way for the author to express differences. “Birth-cries” and “bury me,” “fear” and “love,” “tight” and “flimsy” are all examples of words that contradict each other yet enhance this text. It’s ironic how the word “birth” and “bury” are used within the same sentence since they are complete opposites. However, this word choice increases the narrators drive to not stop at anything until she has this dress. The “love” the narrator has for this red dress is so strong that the “fear” of being judged for her choice in clothing is masked. In order to wear something that is “tight” or fitted a women must have confidence. Either in oneself or in the fact that they can look past the judgmental looks and comments and feel comfortable in their own skin. Anyone can wear “flimsy” clothing and feel confident because they are hiding underneath the fabric. Therefore, whether you are wearing tight or flimsy clothing there it is possible to feel self-assured about oneself. The use of heuristics in this poem allows the reader to gain insight on the true meaning of the text.
The abnormal is constructed in this poem because the reader is given the understanding that the narrator is going against the norm. By wearing such a dress she is going against society and its views on appearances. Women in society that show off their bodies are often perceived in a bad light. It is viewed as disgraceful and revealing for a woman to dress against the average work attire of dress pants, and a blouse. However, I believe that appearances should go against the norm. How you dress makes you different, and in my eyes this is how you become an individual. No one ever became famous by following anyone else, they instead made them self stand out by rebelling, and not following what is expected. The woman in this poem is simply trying to find herself in this society. She has a desire to be different and to be her own person. Being abnormal is the only was to truly individualize oneself in our society.