I have always been very confused by this or any variation of this statement.
For me, respecting myself means appointing myself as the boss of me and recognizing that no one else owns my body or my life choices. For me, respecting myself is listening to my body and what it wants and needs. For me, respecting myself is loving myself enough to know that weight, gender, sexual orientation, ability, sexual status, relationship status, race, religion do not condition my worth. For me, respecting myself is knowing that only I can press the play, pause, forward or rewind in my life. For me, respecting myself is saying no when I mean no (and asserting my right to have my “no” respected), and saying yes when I mean yes. As many fucking times as I want with as many people as I want, in as many situations as I want. And that means yes to sex, but it also means yes to education, to health care, to a dignified living.
What you mean is “ladies should respect what men want of them”. Which is a bunch of contradictory, non realistic, objectifying BS.
How is it possible for people to be so willing to interpret “respect authority”, for example, as “listen to authority”, and “respect yourself” as “listen to everyone but yourself”?
It is only possible, if you think about it, when you compare that statement to one that is said when something belongs to someone. If you say “hey, respect that car”, it doesn’t mean “listen to that car” (the car has no will). It means “don’t scratch it or use it or misuse it (in accordance to the rules of the owner) in any way for it belongs to someone that is not you”.
And so “respect yourself” means “don’t scratch or use or misuse yourself (in accordance to the rules of the patriarchy) in any way for you belong to someone that is not you.”
And, damn, I will scratch (I am giggling on the inside) and use and misuse myself in any way for I belong to myself and I am abiding by my own rules.
So yes. I am always respecting myself. And if I decide to be a sex worker by my own will, I will also be respecting myself. If I decide to go on a sexual rampage (HAHA) I will still be respecting myself. If I decide I want to not have any sexual contact with anyone at all for the rest of my life, I will be respecting myself as well. If I decide to join a convent or the church of scientology or the friggin westboro baptist (I almost wrote baptits, fyi) church, as long as it is my choice, I will still be respecting myself.
The day that I do or stop doing or being something because someone else says I should, that day you can say that I am not respecting myself.