What it Means to be a Man X: Self-Respect

Published in Feminism - 2 mins to read

As you might have noticed, I am running out of steam a little bit - I think that was kind of inevitable trying to write on the same topic, to the same standard, for so many days in a row. So for the first time, I thought I’d go looking on the Internet for inspiration, and try and find what other people arrogantly proclaim to be the qualities vital in a modern man. And let me tell you, they all suck. I can’t even really put my finger on why. I think it’s just something in the tone, some pretense, or maybe the qualities they choose that are still so stoic, so chiseled-chins and chopping wood without a shirt on.

Anyway, it made me feel quite a lot better about writing my own list. Today’s quality is something I think plenty of men (maybe even the majority) have no problem with - in some ways it’s even part of the toxic archetype - it’s just that I am sorely lacking in it. Self-respect is something I’ve never had a great deal of, and it has a knock-on effect in almost all areas of my life, at work, in my relationships both platonic and romantic, in most of the interactions I have with another human being. Having a more appropriate amount of it would not only clearly serve me better, but likely serve others around me better in plenty of scenarios as well. If I don’t have respect for myself, can I really respect anyone else? Can I really embody any of the other qualities described in this series?

I prefer to think of it in reverse - if I can cultivate all those other things within myself, I’m hoping self-respect will be a convenient byproduct, the cherry on the top of the cake. It feels like a bit of a chicken-and-egg thing, except I have neither. Writing these posts is a little like writing a grocery list; looking at how other people’s recipes turned out and trying to pick ‘n’ mix the best bits for my own.

Or maybe I’ve just massively overthought this analogy. Who knows.

See other posts in the What it Means to be a Man series