It’s no doubt that in the day of thriving media and people being more closely connected than ever, everything is open to interpretation. Depending on how each person has been raised and socialized, there may be many different ideas of what it truly means to respect your body. I asked five people on campus (names will remain anonymous) what they believe that respecting your body means. The responses are as stated: “Respecting your body means loving your body for what it is and owning it.” “Respecting your body means you treat your body with love and care.”
“Respecting your body means making sure you get enough water, nutrients, and exercise necessary.”
“It means taking care of yourself.”
“It means doing what you want.”
All of these responses seemed rather uplifting to hear. But it continues. I then proceeded to ask what these five respondents feel about college women who have a lot of sex.
“Slut.” “She gets around.”
“Easy.” “Used up.”
“Shameful.” Surprised? Didn’t’t think so. However, I decided to look at the other end of the spectrum, and asked these five respondents what they think of girls in their late teens and early twenties who have not had their first kiss yet.
“Strange. Loser. Lame.”
“So behind in the game.”
Sadly enough, these results did not surprise me. It almost seems that there is no middle ground – one either does too much or too little. In this ever thriving hookup culture called college, people who choose to wait for their first kiss or first time having sex are often looked at as lame or just so behind in the game. Yet in our socialized mindsets of women needing to conform to societal standards, those who engage in regular sexual activity can also be seen as too easy and disrespectful of their bodies.
As a means of respecting your body, one must take care of it and tend to it – with enough daily nutrients, water intake, and exercise. But what we must not forget is that respecting your body evidently means respecting your decisions for your own body. If a girl chooses to be more reserved and wait until the right time, that is her decision. Likewise, if she chooses to engage in constant sexual activity, that is her decision as well.
The sad truth is that the latter situation isn’t quite understood. The idea of respecting your body is misconstrued as not doing too much, when in reality it means doing what you wish for your body. To reiterate, I would like to quote Astrid Alauda:
“Your body’s a temple, but only if you treat it as one.”
You have probably heard the saying that your body is a temple, which is often associated with not being too active in said behaviors. However, all these choices mentioned here all come down to the decision of the owner of said body. That doesn’t mean quickly going out to find your first kiss just because you’re afraid of being shamed for being twenty years old and never wanting your first kiss. It also doesn’t mean refraining from sex on your date despite wanting it. What respecting your body means is to be able to respect your own decisions for your own body – not the quantity or actions done.
While respecting your body means nourishing it – with enough water, nutrients, and exercise, it also means nourishing your body with respectful decisions for it. Respectful is not a universally defined quantity of things you can or cannot do with someone else; rather, what you, the owner of the body, would like for it.