Hard to believe it’s the 50th anniversary of Aretha Franklin’s Respect. Here’s some untold history (and awesome live performance videos).
The overall vibe of Redding’s song, in which he’s addressing his “little girl,” bears more than a hint of desperation. Despite his machismo (all those “got-ta, got-ta, got-ta”s), he’s telling her he’ll give her anything she wants (“What you want / Honey, you’ve got it / And what you need / Baby, you’ve got it”). Heck, he’s telling her she can cheat on him when he’s away as long as she gives him “a little respect when I come home”!
Franklin’s masterstroke was to flip that desperation into female power. She owns her self-worth in the first verse—”What you want / Baby, I got it”—and insists on one thing above all else: “A little respect when you come home.” “R-E-S-P-E-C-T / Find out what it means to me,” she dares. Redding’s version was a plea; Franklin’s is a demand.
Very necessary. A fitting room Parent Translator, in case you’re not speaking the same Body Positivity language.
Can we talk about this one, though? For when her future daughter cries in the bathroom? For me I think this illustrates what most “helpful” advice misses: the fact that sometimes you just need to cry alone in the bathroom. (although perhaps that’s assumed and she’s moved on to the next practical step? I don’t care I don’t find that helpful either.) And before we see the lesson that can be learned, or grow from whatever experience made us start crying in the bathroom, it’s important to remember that IT IS OK FOR YOU TO CRY IN THE BATHROOM.
Sometimes you just need to let it out, and all these learning opportunities keep you focused outside of yourself, rather than honoring what’s real and true for you in the moment, which is that you feel like dirt and you need to cry it out in the bathroom. The poetic thing about tears is that they can’t be contained, and sometimes we can’t contain everything, and we must let it flow through us.
So my advice for someone crying in the bathroom is to remember that emotion needs to flow, so don’t censor your tears. Don’t worry about holding everything in or even keeping a grip on anything. When you’re ready to analyze and grow and learn the lesson, or whatever, then it’ll be time for that. But for now, finding solitude and letting emotion move is good and right.
What would you say to your future daughter when she cries in the bathroom?
On Your Concern for Your Fat Friend’s Heatlh. *stands and applauds*
Nearly every conversation about fatness is a conversation about weight loss — one that considers all of us part of the same precarious circumstance. According to those anxiety-soaked conversations, we’re all perpetually teetering on the edge of becoming fat. Keeping fat at bay is like a foreign threat that’s turned internal, a Red Scare in our own bodies. One false move, one indulgent meal, one day without vigilant terror could lead any one of us to become fat.
And fat means more than just the size or shape of your body. In those panic-driven conversations, fat means you’re not trying. It means you’re not loved, because fat isn’t lovable. Fat means you’re not strong, not moral, not smart enough to stay alert to the threat of fat. Fat means you’ve failed.
When others see my body, it reminds them of all of that. I’m a manifestation of that cultural nightmare, the worst case scenario for their bodies to become. If you see something, say something. And when others see me, they do. Because if they’re explaining diet advice and mortality rates to a fat person, no one could mistake them for one.
Semi-related: Diet books are terrible, and they’re even worse when doctors write them.
Not even remotely related: If you can’t go on an epic backcountry trip, here are some quick suggestions for infusing wild into your every day.
Ok, guys, you know I love Wills and Kate, and they are in India and Bhutan right now, and India is currently the country of my heart, and her wardrobe is EPIC and I want everything in it. Check out what the Fug Girls say here.
I love Girls Gone Strong, and I love this essay on Why I love being big. I’ll add that, for me, being strong and aware of my own capabilities also helps me reframe being big. I have more points of observation than simply, Am I smaller than her? or Am I a size 2? When I have a relationship with my body, its abilities, and how it’s feeling day to day, big doesn’t have quite the same meaning.