On Self-Respect

I’m always leery when someone (anywhere, any time) tells us Ladies that we need to Respect Ourselves. The phrase itself is almost always completely steeped in slut-shaming attitudes and reinforces the idea that women are the gatekeepers of sex and should clamp our legs shut until a man has “earned” the right to access the wonderful vagina. Anyone who has ever read this blog ever knows that my reaction to that ranges from “please don’t undermine my hard-won personal struggle to be able to conduct my sex life how I see fit” to “fuck that shit.”

I love Sofi of Sexy Typewriter. She’s sharp and witty and has a lot of really good things to say, but anyone who tells me that men have to pay me “dues” in order to have sex with me, or that I should stop having sex on my terms because I’m “rewarding men for piss-poor behavior” gets a little side-eye from me.

When I have casual sex without someone paying for my dinner (or my drinks, even! EGADS) I’m not some naive little schoolgirl blinded by the sexual revolution who is getting taken advantage of for some free poontang. I am a woman who wants sex, and has sex with someone I want sex with. Clear and simple. When someone looks at my sex life, disapproves, and tells me that I am not respecting myself, they are disrespecting me, because dismissing my agency in my casual sex hookups is incredibly, INCREDIBLY disrespectful. Telling me what I should or should not be okay with is also disrespectful of my own choices. “But you could be hurt/taken advantage of/disrespected/have bad feelings if you do that!” is, to me, concern trolling.

For that matter, who does it hurt if I have sex with a dude without making him buy me an appletini and whispering sweet nothings in my ear just because I think he’s super hot and has smouldering eyes and he makes my knees week? It certainly doesn’t hurt me any; I just had hot sex with a super hot guy with smouldering eyes who makes my knees weak. I’m not going to fold like a deck of cards under the pressure of no free drinks and last-minute requests for sex at random. Conventional wisdom and Sofi tell me that it’s because I’m rewarding men for bad behavior, so I’m just going to stop them right there and make an announcement.

I am NOT a certified Man-Trainer because I have a Vagina. I am under no obligation to no one to train men like a dog; rewards for “good” behavior and the spray bottle with “bad”. It’s not my responsibility to teach men how to treat all women everywhere. Men are adults and they can learn to treat people right on their own time. I can only engage with people who treat me in acceptable ways and disengage with people who do not. If I decide that a guy can call me up to squeeze a booty call in after going for groceries that is surely my business and no one else’s.

Which is not, of course, to say that in my never-ending Quest for Hot Sex and Instant Gratification I never come across men who treat me with disrespect. In a cultural climate where women who have sex without making men jump through hoops are seen as not respecting themselves (ahem) this is completely unavoidable. In fact, this happened to me quite recently, and that experience had me nodding along with a lot of what Sofi had to say.

Some Highlights:

Impromptu booty calls are a privilege a person earns. You are working at a deficit.

I absolutely agree with this statement, and that may seem at odds with what I wrote above, but it’s not. “I don’t make people ‘pay dues’ to have sex with me” is not the same thing AT ALL as “People can treat me however they want and they can still have sex with me.” YOU get to decide what is acceptable behavior for someone you are sleeping with and YOU get to tell people to fuck off if they tell you that you’re not respecting yourself. “I get to decide for myself” is not “Okay, anything goes.” If you are happy with your sex/romantic life and with how people treat you, then get down with your bad self and do how you do, haters gonna hate. If you’re not happy you obviously need to change something, but you get to do that without people yelling at you to respect yourself and “helpfully” telling you what that means.

Every ounce of sexual frustration and irritation and full-on rage that I felt regarding this completely unfair and effed situation surged through my body, and poured out through my fingertips.

Me: 1. My apartment is not an afternoon drop-in centre for wayward boys running errands.

Me: 2. Flaking out and pulling disappearing acts makes me lose interest fast.

Me: 3. If you don’t have time or interest in meeting me for drinks one evening with actual advance notice and getting to know me a bit, I don’t have time for you.

Admittedly, I went off the rails on a crazy train. And it felt fucking rad!

Putting this here because hell yea I’ve been there and it’s always fun to see someone lay the smackdown on someone who deserves it.

I would have really liked Sofi’s post if she had kept it “Here are some stories about how Men were douchbags and I smacked them down and stood up for my needs like the awesome person I am, and you should assert yourself and stand up for your needs too!” without the “And you ladies need to do things exactly like I do, and make the same demands or your are not respecting yourselves!” Because Sofi’s needs are not my needs, and if I got all in her face like “Demanding Men pay for your drinks or dinner is feeding into the patriarchal notion that men need to be financial providers that always take care of women because women can’t take care of themselves. If you do that you have no self-respect as an independent woman” You’d think I was a complete asshole, right? Right.

Moral of the Story: Decide how you want to be treated (however that is) and engage with people who treat you that way. Stand up for yourself against people who don’t treat you right, and don’t let people dictate to you your needs or how to go about fulfilling them.



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4 responses to “On Self-Respect

  1. High-five Shora!

    I just do not understand why so many people seem to confuse “people should stand up for their needs” with “people should stand up for my needs.” It appears to be a fairly clear distinction.

    • High Five!

      Best I can figure, it’s because our silly ladybrains cannot POSSIBLY decide for ourselves what is good for us, and we need other people to tell us. Or something.

      Seriously the “This is how all dating everywhere works!” Is exponentially less believable when my own dating experiences differ so wildly from that model. People are different, and how they date is different and that’s cool. I don’t understand how that is so hard.

  2. nadinethornhill

    Of course I agree with you 100%. And I have to give you mad props for making the point with such eloquent, diplomatic pizzazz!

    • Thank you so much! And welcome to my humble little blog!

      I was worried about laying on the snark to thick, especially since I DO really like Sofi, but when people start pumping out the party line on the Sexual Marketplace I get a little…. twitchy xD

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