If What? - Boring John, World According to

Thursday, August 23, 2007

If What?

Rudyard Kipling once wrote a poem called If

Go on, read it! It won't take long...

Done? Okay, now it's a nice poem and all - Mr Kipling does write exceedingly good words (sorry, couldn't resist!) - but still, bugger me! ya gotta be kidding, ain't ya Rudders? So that's all you've got to do to be a man? Well, sign me up for being a woman right now, then - cos no way can it be as hard as being a man (if Rudyard Kipling's right, that is!). Yeah, I'll put up with the periods and doin' doggie if that's what it takes to be a woman, anything but having to endure that litany of impossible qualities to simply being a man.

Or is Rudyard talking about "A Man", that close cousin of another mythical creature called Real Man?

Let me ask you something: Do we have terms like real woman? No, we don't. So why is there such a notion of a real man? There are good and bad men, but there are not real men, just like there's no such thing as "being black" - "You're not very black are you!" states the brain-dead bimbo! It's a load of bollocks summed up, beautifully and eloquently, by Rudyard Kipling's poem.

If indeed!


Soni said...

Piffle. There are too such qualities as being a "real woman."

You have to be thin enough, but not so thin that it's obvious you're trying too hard. You have to be fit, without being too fit to be feminine. Pretty without being too pretty to be approachable. Smart without being scary smart.

You have to be pleased with the role feminism gave you (superwoman), whether you are interested in that life or not, because to prefer to stay home and play house is to be a traitor to all those who worked so hard to give you the privilege of dying of a coronary in a corner office (regardless of the reality that what they were actually trying to give you was a choice, not a mandate).

You have to be Madonna and Whore, without being too much of either, or at the wrong time. (And don't forget to take your turn at being Harriet, Earth Mother, Oprah, Superwoman and Six, while you're at it.)

As far as color and race go, I know plenty of kids who are failing out of school right now because being smart means "being too white," and the same thing goes for young men and women of color who have the potential to be enormously successful in business and other aspects of life, but who aren't because if they go that way they are accused of being an Oreo (black on the outside, white inside).

Piffle, I say.

Soni said...

Here, have a better poem, by my favorite poet, Rumi.

On Children Running Through

I used to be shy.
You made me sing.

I used to refuse things at table.
Now I shout for more wine.

In somber dignity,
I used to sit on my mat and pray.

Now children run through
and make faces at me.

Me said...

Yes, "If" by Rudyard Kipling and "Piffle" by Soni Pitts - both clearly indicate what stupid conventions are associated with gender, and skin colour (I have to spell that word with a 'u', sorry - otherwise the Queen will come round personally, and shoot me!).

But... whilst I wholeheartedly agree that being a woman is a lot harder than being a man in most societies of the modern world (for some peculiar reason) there is no such expression as 'real woman'. (Okay, maybe it's implied in the single word 'woman' - which is worse - but still, I am being pedantic here, and just a little bit argumentative! ;-))