-The Woman Who Shopped-


The poem explores the stereotype of a shopaholic woman.  Duffy exaggerates the character of the poem by making her become a shop herself.

  • A reference to everything being disposable, including men: ‘Ditched him’
  • A present-day currency reference could suggest that both money and woman’s rights have evolved as women now have full use of their own money: ‘saved up a pound, a fiver, a tenner’
  • A reference to the women only working to cover the cost of her addiction: ‘applied for a job for the wage and the bonus’
  • A reference to the woman’s addiction being too strong, resulting in her buying things that she doesn’t need: ‘ordering swimming pools, caravans, saunas’
  • A reference to being addicted to spending money: ‘tapping her credit card numbers all night’
  • A reference to there being no humanity left in the women: ‘she was stone, was concrete and glass’
  • A sexual reference to her being a prostitute: ‘Her skirts were glass doors opening and closing, her stockings were moving stairs, her shoes were lifts, going up, going down’
  • A reference to the addiction of spending money, as if it drains her blood: ‘loved the credit cards swiping themselves in her blood’
  • A reference to expensive items: ‘cheeses, fruits, wines, truffles and caviar’
  • A reference to that she is using words to seduce and enjoys her sexually promiscuous nature: ‘was gift wrapping, the whisper of tissue and string, she loved the changing rooms of her heart’
  • A reference to the prostitute having control over the sexually desperate, giving the sex worker a feeling of empowerment for the sex worker: ‘she would have a sale and crowds would queue overnight at her cu*t, desperate for bargains.’
  • This could be a reference to the harsh reality of being a sex worker, that it’s not all pretty, that sex workers are often mistreated. Or it could be a reference to shaming women, with a ‘shriek’ at the taboo nature of the prostitute’s job: ‘Birds shrieked and voided themselves in her stone hair’


The poem is a memo for Jesus of all the things that he should change within the world. Duffy begins with ‘abscesses’, moving right down through the alphabet until she gets to ‘W’, at which point the text becomes ‘illegible’ for the last few letters. Duffy suggests that males don’t care about female opinions and that the female voice is lost within history, as even Jesus ignored Mary. Showing no matter their position or authority women have been forever ignored. With the frequent repetition of ‘ maybe not’, being potentially done to show the stereotypical indecisiveness of women and that women almost give up trying due to men ignoring them and disrespecting their opinions.

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