To be desired or respected…that is the question. Well at least in my opinion of course. But, first, let me give some transparency on how this topic even came to mind. As I’m going through the process of loving me and not equating my value to outside validation; it occurred to me that a big part of that was feeling wanted by the opposite sex. I can remember growing up and overhearing my mother speak about how she’s happy I wasn’t as “charismatic” (for the lack of a better word) as she was with boys because that was one less thing she had to worry about…boys. However, you can best believe when the time came my lack of suitors would be questioned.
I then began to think out loud, “How many other women felt this way?”. How many other women felt that they're worth is measured by a man wanting, needing, or desiring them? I mean, if you think about it, we're conditioned from an early age to equate our value to being able to obtain and keep a “man”. Your adequacy or inadequacy as a woman is based on getting married ( which you need a man for); having children ( which you need a man in order to have) and being happy ( which you can’t be if you can’t acquire the first two, right?). So here we are having dreams of our own but it’ll never be complete unless we add a man to the equation to really be successful and complete in life.
Now we’re focused on grabbing the eyes of potential partners, but we aren’t focused on gaining the respect of potential moguls. I read a 2012 article from Psychology Today titled Women Need Love And Men Need Respect. In the article, Dr. Shauna H. Springer writes, based on Emerson Eggerich’s best selling book ‘Love and Respect’, how women need to feel loved and men need to feel respected. Based on Eggerich’s studies, he presented the choice of enduring being disrespected and inadequate by everyone or being alone and unloved in the world. Out of 400 men there was 74 percent who chose to be unloved and alone before they were disrespected and inadequate. And of course women polled the total opposite with the majority of women choosing to endure being disrespected and inadequate.
According to Dr. Springer, Eggerich’s study seemed biased and she chose to do her own survey with professional women she knew. Based on the professional women Springer studied, their needs were to be respected like the men. I then posed the question: Could it be possible that the women Eggerich used in his study had a lack of self value? Was it possible that they couldn’t see their life as beneficial without the need to be desired and loved by a man? Or could it have been that the “professional women '' Springer studied were more career oriented over desiring to have a family and/or marriage? Or could they feel as though they had more to offer other than just being satisfied with being a mother and\or wife?
I know when I was growing up I would write down the names of what I wanted to name my children or how many I wanted. Or what about when we used to play those games that told you who you were going to marry, how many kids and what celebrity was going to be your husband. I don’t remember those games telling you to learn and love yourself or focus on you and the rest will follow. However, I’m at a space in my life that I want to be respected when I walk in a room. I want men to know and understand that I’m a woman and not just something pleasant on the eye. I have something to say and it’s valuable.
Although men lusting after you can get you in spaces and places, the question is: “Can it keep you there and open more doors?” I feel like as women, sometimes, we use our “assets” to our advantage but forget to earn the respect. I personally believe that if he has respect for you then a lot of what we go through with men we’d be able to avoid. He just might respect you enough to walk away before he cheats or shows some type of fuck boy tendencies. Remember, respect is earned not given. When I step in the room I don’t want my assets to be the only thing that catches your attention. When I talk, I want to be heard. When I walk, I want doors to be open so that I may walk through them. I want respect. I want loyalty. I want honesty. To be desired is to be wanted but wants change…so now what? And a man wanting you doesn’t mean he respects you, wants to marry you, or see’s the value in you. I can want a piece of cake but it doesn’t mean I hold this cake to be as valuable to my health as a piece of fruit. I see the cake as attractive and tasty but I wouldn’t dare think of cake when I’m looking to lose weight, become healthier or have a well balanced diet.
I believe basking in your femininity and sexuality is liberating. Wear the dresses that are going to silhouette your figure but make sure it’s with the intentions of loving and celebrating you versus just appealing to men. I’ve been married for over ten years and as much as my husband told me I was beautiful I didn’t receive it until I understood my worth. Me being married and having children probably added more to my insecurities than it actually helped it. I learned how to get to know myself and realized my worth, which had me look past just what I had to offer physically. I realized the way I see myself is going to reflect how others will see me. So I had to believe it so they could know it. Having all the men you want actually devalues yourself as if the only thing of value is what you look like and what’s between your legs.
If I had to choose between being desired or respected, I’m sure you all obviously know that I’m choosing respect. I’m not taking anything away with wanting to start a family and having a husband. I love having a family but I had a family because that’s what I wanted not because it was something I had to do in order to make others see my worth; that I have it all together. Technically, I thought I was going to be a black Carrie Bradshaw but I guess I wasn’t aligned..I digress.
Now I pose the question for my ladies: Would you rather be desired or respected by a man? Why?