Love, Heartache & Gender Equality: 5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Read Milk & Honey

Cole Schafer Blog

Rupi Kaur first surfaced the web when she posted a picture on Instagram of her lying in bed with her pajamas and sheets stained with a small amount of menstrual blood. The image was at first banned by IG, but then put up again later -- generating an insane amount of buzz & debate. 

Rupi is a 24 year old activist and feminist poet that moved from Punjab India to Toronto when she was 4. Her self-published book, Milk & Honey has sold over 400,000 copies and was No. 3 on the New York Times Best Seller List. 

I recently read Milk & Honey and walked away with a completely new perspective on heartache, trauma, women & discrimination. Rupi has helped hundreds of thousands of women across the world, but I think she has quite a bit to offer men as well -- I think everyone should read Milk & Honey for the following reasons:

5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Read Milk & Honey


1. Women Are The Most Discriminated Class in The United States

i want to apologize to all the women
i have called pretty
before i have called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you are born with
is the most you have to be proud of when your
spirit has crushed mountains
for now on i will say things like
you are resilient or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re pretty
but because you are so much more than that
— Rupi Kaur

Generally, I keep most of my political beliefs to myself. Some of this, I must admit, is due to fear that sharing my opinions will push away a valuable portion of my reader base. So, what I am about to say is an exception to a rule I normally try to follow

Women are the most discriminated class in the United States. They are discriminated against by white men, black men and as much as it pains me to say... other women.

This discrimination has become increasingly more apparent as Hillary Clinton approaches The White House, and for the first time the ugly behavior women face on a daily basis is slapping America right in the fucking face. Whether you love Hillary or hate Hillary, everyone should be thanking Hillary... her candidacy has brought to the surface issues that have been plaguing our nation since its birth.

I once heard a woman say to me, "I don't think women are fit to be president." My jaw dropped. The statement made me realize that the belief that women are less has been so heavily ingrained in our culture, that women have started to believe they are less.

Rupi instills self-love, self-respect and confidence in the hearts of women across the world. She is a huge advocate for women and I respect the hell out of her for it. She addresses many of the issues women have been plagued by for years, and offers insight that both men and women can take away.    

2. Men Will Gain a Deeper Respect & Admiration for Women

he placed his hands
on my mind
before reaching
for my waist
my hips
or my lips
he didn’t call me
beautiful first
he called me

— how he touches me
— Rupi Kaur

I am no saint when it comes to women. I on more than one occasion have shared disrespectful jokes & conversation with my guy friends. I am not a feminist, I am a realist. I think many women have been guilty of having "locker room talk" about men with their girlfriends, so I don't necessarily see anything wrong when men partake in this sort of tom-foolery with their guy friends. 

With that said, I have noticed a clear disrespect towards women in regards to sex. Honestly, you are blind if you haven't. A man that sleeps around with dozens of girls is considered a 'stud', a woman that does the same thing is considered a whore.

A key that can unlock many locks is a good key, a lock that can be unlocked by many keys is a bad lock. This concept is messed up, but it is a widely shared opinion by both men & women. 

Along with this, I think men are horrible at empathizing with women, and in general there is too much lack of admiration for women in our culture.

It stuns me to watch men be so close to their mothers, literally willing to protect them with their lives and then go out and treat women like sexual objects.

Rupi allows men to gain a unique perspective on the female mind and helps them to grow a deeper admiration for women, their strength and their greatness. 

Lastly, I want to clarify. I have played women before, I have broken hearts. Just like I have been played and have had my heart broken. I do not write any of this to sound uppity. In fact I have been guilty of many of the things I am writing about now, I just feel it is important to bring these issues to the world's attention.


3. Women Will Gain a Greater Respect for Themselves

you tell me to quiet down cause
my opinions make me less beautiful
but i was not made with a fire in my belly
so i could be put out
i was not made with a lightness in my tongue
so i could be easy to swallow
i was made heavy
half blade and half silk
difficult to forget but
not easy for the mind to follow
— Rupi Kaur

Women are as guilty as men when it concerns the lack of equality in this country. I see just as many women holding themselves and other women back, as I see men. Like I said, I am not a feminist, I am a realist. If these issues are to ever be resolved, women will need to experience a drastic change in mindset. 

I strongly believe that Rupi offers this mindset. 

She is fierce. She is intelligent. She is compassionate. She is sexy, not just in physical appearance, but in spirit. I think she envelopes everything a woman should be, and she demands the respect and equality she deserves. 

Women forget that there is no life without them. They forget that they were the ones that birthed the "great" men of this nation, who are currently supressing them. They forget that they are the only reason this world continues to turn. 

When I have a daughter and when she is of age, Milk & Honey will be the first book she reads. 

4. Mending Heartbreak

If you are broken
and they have left you
do not question
whether you were
the problem was
you were so enough
they were not able to carry it
— Rupi Kaur

Rupi offers beautiful insight about heartbreak, and while it is heavily catered towards women, there is value for everyone. It gives men an interesting perspective on the female side of a bad break-up.

In many ways I have found it healing as a man. Women are just as guilty as men when it comes to breaking hearts, and I think there are quite a few lessons in this book that can be directly applied to men on their own self-worth and investing too much of themselves in women. 

5. Overcoming Trauma

our knees
pried open
by cousins
and uncles
and men
our bodies
by all the wrong people
that even
with a bed full of safety
we are afraid

This is a darker subject that nobody likes to discuss, but it's real.

As many as 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will experience some form of sexual molestation before the age of 18

1 in 5 women have been a victim of completed or attempted rape in their lifetime and 1 in 2 have experienced some form of sexual violence. 

Rupi doesn't necessarily make it clear in any of her interviews if she has been sexually abused, or if she is writing for a friend or someone dear to her that has had these types of experiences. Regardless, she uses intense vivid language, that I imagine is hugely relatable to anyone that has had similar experiences.

The beauty in her language is that she evokes a sense of strength from life's darkest moments.


I know I have thrown a lot at you today, and I recognize these are subjects I generally don't delve into on my blog, but I am a huge advocate of everything I discussed and I think Milk & Honey offers answers to many of the problems America, women and men are struggling with today.

This book will leave you feeling something, I highly recommend it. 

By Cole Schafer