18
Oct
12

Self-Respect and what it really means

Today, a discussion in a group on Facebook prompted me to share the OP on my wall for discussion. One woman  responded. I posted her response to the group it originated in, and someone remarked that it was a bit viscous and so she wrote out her thoughts more fully. Here they are, in case you missed it!

She wrote:

How about this—everything a woman wears (much like everything else a woman does) is cited as evidence that she lacks self-respect. Too revealing, and she’s a sex object. Too modest, and she’s ashamed of her body. Too formal, and she’s desperate for approval. Too informal, and she’s depressed and feeling unworthy of the effort. Try to balance, and you’ll end up in all categories at once. Any and every excuse to claim that women are mentally inferior and need to be protected from their poor, self-destructive decision-making.

Screw that.

If you wear short, tight, body-revealing clothing, congratulations! You obviously respect yourself enough to revel in, and show off, your body’s natural aesthetic beauty. Rock on. Keep respecting yourself.

If you wear old t-shirts, sweats, pajamas, or any random fabric you put no real effort into, congratulations! You obviously respect yourself enough to dress for your own simplicity and comfort, without regard to what others think. Rock on. Keep respecting yourself.

If you keep your body modestly covered under longer, looser clothing, or even if you wear a full-body-covering burqa with nothing of you visible but your eyeballs, congratulations! You obviously respect yourself enough to keep your body private and mysterious, and regard viewing of you as a a special privilege allowed only to those few whom you choose. Rock on. Keep respecting yourself.

If you dress up elaborately with tailored clothing, makeup, hairstyles, and carefully coordinated accessories, congratulations! You obviously respect yourself enough to use your appearance as art. Art is love. Your body is your beloved canvas. Rock on. Keep respecting yourself.

If you dress up in something completely unusual such as a dragon costume, a burlap sack, a wetsuit on dry land, or something Lady Gaga might enjoy, congratulations! You obviously respect yourself enough to look at your standard clothing options and think “none of the above.” Rock on. Keep respecting yourself.

If you go completely naked without so much as a loincloth on, congratulations! You obviously respect yourself not to need clothing or external adornment to shield or express yourself; you let your body speak for itself. Rock on. Keep respecting yourself.

You know why? Because ALL HUMANS respect ourselves. It’s in our wiring. Our survival instinct. To claim that someone lacks self-respect is to accuse them of lacking an essential piece of humanity. Self-respect is about who we are, not what we wear.

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