Kipling for Girls: The Other “If”


If you can keep your worth when men about you
Are gaining theirs by lowering that of you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
And give no quarter to their doubting too:

“"I Don't Want Her, You Can Have Her, She's (Gotten) Too Smart For Me!"”

If you can no more wait in silent, fruitless waiting
But, being lied about, throw back the lies,
And, being hated, pay in measure for the hating,
While looking clean and good and acting wise;

If you can dream – their dreams not be your master;
If you can think – their wants not be your aim,
If you can meet with each of their disasters
And on those sad imposters lay the blame:

If you are sick of hearing the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted for slaves to make false traps by fools,
Or watch the women you shared your life with, broken,
And stand tossed out aside, like worn-out tools;

If you are on the heap of all the losers—
You risked it on a piece of human dross
And lost—no start again at your beginnings;
(He gets to start again with a new toss:

He gets a girl-child ready-made and new
To kowtow to him after you are gone),
And so you must hold on with nothing in you
Except the will which says “I’ll carry on!”

If you can act for good but lose your virtue,
But of their virtue men need never care,
If words of foes or loving friends can hurt you
But reputations of men can be bared:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds of fair treatment’s slaughter,
Then you now know that women ARE the n#ggers,*
And—which is more—you’ll be a Woman, my daughter!

Told It Like It Is

 
* Yoko Ono’s famous quote, Woman is the n#gger of the world was in reference to the underdog status of all women everywhere.
 
The original Rudyard Kipling’s “If”:
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/175772



2013/11/25–added an explanation of Yoko Ono’s famous quote when I learned today that many younger women are unfamiliar with it.
 

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