I just had an epiphany. I like being respected. Now before you wonder why I am now realizing this, let me tell you a story. It was 10pm and I was walking back home after a long day on campus. There were a group of Black men around my prospective path. Before I was even in a 10 foot radar they started to clear the path. Like literally stepped aside as if I was some queen about to step into her palace. “Have a good night” one said, while the the other said “you’re a beautiful Black queen”. I smiled politely and thanked them. The funny thing was I looked a hot mess, so I definitely knew they weren’t trying to holla at me. They simply respected me. And that was a beautiful feeling.
Now that the story has ended, let me go back to my original point. As females-and especially Black females-we say we want to be treated with respect, and Lord knows what we have been through in this country to demand respect among the masses. But in certain cases our actions may speak otherwise. Now I’m not gonna get into too much detail with that previous statement, but I am going to use myself as an example. I always say I want to be respected by men, yet my actions say otherwise. Any time I’m trying to get the attention of a guy I like, I always feel the need to make sure I wear a provocatively tight dress or show a little cleavage. You watch these hip hop music videos and hear these hip hop songs about so-and-so’s chick being bad, and you find yourself subconsciously trying to be that chick they describe. At least I have. Maybe not entirely but, admittedly, to some extent. We’ve all seen these quotes about loving yourself or trying not to be like others, etc., but it’s harder to follow than many think. Even when we think we are secure with who we are as women, we still tend to try to please others and feed into (male dominated) society’s demands without even realizing it.
But I digress.
So that is why I had the epiphany. In that moment when I looked like nothing special, I was being elevated and treated with such dignity for the simple fact that I am a woman, a Black woman. No tight clothing to show my assets (which I do have). But there they were, making me feel like I was worth so much without even having to try. And that is when I realized I don’t have to go out of my way to get attention from guys. That just screams aloud how insecure I am and says nothing about how I want to be respected. I came to the realization that a man should respect me no matter how I look, and I don’t need to hyper-sexualize myself to get a man’s attention. If I have to make an effort to be a certain way for a guy to notice me, then I’m clearly not chasing the right guy.
You don’t have to agree with what I’m saying. This is just me expressing myself. And believe it or not, some women don’t have to try hard to look sexy or imitate the “bad” chicks we often hear of—they just naturally have that type of sex appeal. In that case they are being themselves. Kudos to you. But that’s not me. And that’s why I wrote this post. I was trying to be someone I am not. I now know my modesty is good enough. So yes. I like being respected…for the simple fact that I am a woman. A Black woman.