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Self-respect has been tied up with the way a person expresses themselves and is very often mentioned in the realm of female sexuality. While we often want to believe that shaming women (among others) for their sexual self-expression was left behind in the 1950s, every rude comment on a Kardashian’s revealing Instagram post will tell you differently.

I grew up in a conservative area that insisted a girl was worthless if she was sexually active. As a youngin, I believed sexuality was wrong until I grew up a little and joined the club. I’ve always been the type that’s shown off their body in bikinis and such, and never cared that I received judgment for it. 

Recently, I went viral for a revealing (but still clothed) post, and had a mix of complements and gross comments– but the grossest thing about the comments section was the blatant misogyny. Things like “yeah she looks good but this isn’t wifey material” and “this generation needs to have more respect for themselves.” All I did was wear a silk robe, and it really wasn’t that sexual. Regardless of the level of sexuality, someone is sharing, sexuality is not a defining factor of a lack of self-respect. Also, never assume someone’s life goal is to be a wife.

Self-respect is about autonomy. That means being self-governing, stepping into your own power, and doing what makes you feel the happiest. It means only allowing what you are comfortable with, and not submitting to what others want simply because of their judgments. Being inauthentic to who you are and who you want to be– that is a lack of self-respect because you’re doing things out of alignment with yourself in order to please others. I’ve never been one to care what people think, but I’m still tired of seeing this negativity and condescension directed towards those who choose to present their sexuality, be sexually active, and talk about their sexuality.

Of course, the words self-respect imply that it is all about one’s self, but it’s fair to say that the way you treat others pours into self-respect. The way you interact with the world around you is a projection of what you feel about yourself. If you say something condescending to another person, it’s probably coming from a place of lack within yourself. On the other hand, if you support people and their rights to act as an individual, it reflects the notion that you are whole, confident, and happy within yourself.

Self-respect is about being authentic to you and the world around you, not bending yourselves to the whims of others in order to gain respect. Express yourself with grace, sexuality, comedy, music, boldness, reservedness, or whatever feels true to who you are. Being good to yourself and others, expecting them to do the same, and leaving when they don’t– that is self-respect.


Jess Solan

Manhattan '21

The future first social media executive-writer-producer-model-comedian-podcast host-travel blogger-in space. I'm a woman of many hat (especially floppy beach hats). Email: [email protected]
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