what self respect means to me

As someone who has done some modelling and often have pictures taken of me in lingerie, or occasionally do some nude shots or implied nudity, I would like to take the time during this post to explain what self respect means to me. I’ve had many people in these past couple of years I’ve been doing these kind of pictures tell me that I have no self respect, or I shouldn't post photographs like that, or that these types of pictures are not for social media etc, I would quite like to explain my point of view of all of this. I remember a time someone said that it was hypocritical of me to be celebrating international women’s day because I post photo’s of myself half naked all over the internet. Its comments like these that I would like to take the time to reply to, and personally explain why I have no shame in doing what I am doing, and hopefully if you do have these views this post might help you see things from a different point of view. Alongside this I would like to address a similar issue which is that your self respect is also determined by the types of clothes one wears, there have been plenty of times where I have been wearing a top with a low cut front and been called a slag simply for showing off what I believe to be one of my best assets, or a dress that is above the knee and been told that I look tacky, even though I love this dress and think I look great in it. This is an open letter to anyone who has ever said that to me, or to anyone for that matter. I hope this post can make you realise that, yes there may be things about someone else, and choices that that person might make that you may not agree with, and that is ok, but what is not ok is to publicly shame that person by putting them down about something which they are clearly proud of or like about themselves. I myself have been put in this position many times and can tell you it really doesn't feel very nice, to feel that you should be ashamed of yourself for choosing to dress a certain way that makes you feel good, confident and happy, it’s horrible to feel that I should not post certain pictures of myself because other people may deem that as ‘too revealing’ and therefore I have no respect for myself? Everyone is going to have a different view of what they believe is self respect, but I don’t believe anyone is in a position to tell someone how much respect they have for themselves based on such a tiny part of who they are. I hope this post empowers women who have been knocked down for the way they look or dress or the things they post, I hope you know they are people like me that will support you with WHATEVER makes you feel like a happy, strong, sexy, powerful woman, I will never make you feel like any less of a woman for the choices you make for yourself regardless of whether I agree with it or not.

Self respect for me is about making choices that make you happy. It’s about having pride and confidence in yourself and not being ashamed of who you are what you stand for. In my view, self respect has NOTHING to do with how much or little skin you choose to show, how short or long your skirt is or how low plunge your top may be. Modesty empowers some, nudity empowers others, different things empower different people and we need to stop shaming people for what they chose to do with their body or what they chose to wear. I believe self respect has nothing to do with sex or nudity, and I do not believe that any person is in any position to judge another persons level of self respect.

I think that sometimes people believe in a sort of ‘purity’ where a women can value her body only if it is hidden or kept private, and these women are somehow more valuable or desired, and that the less ‘pure’ a woman gets by revealing her body or engaging it in sexual acts the less valuable she is, obviously you can be cautious about your clothing and sexual choices but I believe that it is wrong to automatically assume that a woman lacks self respect because she does these things. I disagree with the belief that self respect is solely determined by the way you dress or how revealing you chose to be. To me self respect is about the way you let other people treat you, and also the way that you treat yourself. Self resect means saying goodbye to negative toxic people in your life, and realising that its totally ok to be selfish and do whats best for you sometimes even if it may upset other people in the process, I believe its about speaking up when someone hurts you, understanding and appreciating your worth and your boundaries, and not being afraid to demand them from others, and if your needs are not being met then having the courage to walk away and know that you deserve better. I believe self respect is knowing what you want and need from life, and allowing yourself to have it, whether that means you take the day off because you're overwhelmed with your struggles at home, booking yourself a spa treatment because you’re super stressed, leaving that job that you aren't enjoying anymore even though the money is great. Its allowing yourself to make the best decisions for yourself and your life. Self respect to ME is learning that I am here on this earth to please nobody but myself and I can do what I please with my body and the concept that I should cover up in order to respect myself, or to be respected by others is absurd.

So, how about we stop telling women and men for that matter, what we should and shouldn't wear or what we should do with our bodies and perhaps try to not get so offended by how a woman or a man choses to express themselves Why not learn to celebrate it? Lets all unite in embracing the beauty of that individual and the human body, lets love and respect each other. I think it is ridiculous to assume the confidence level of that particular individual can be portrayed in something so small such as what they decide to wear. Is it so hard to believe that some women just want to look like a sexy woman for themselves?! Yes there may be some people out there who dress a certain way to impress someone else, and that is sad as you should always want to impress yourself first, but there are people, people like myself, who just enjoy looking like a tasty lil snack just because it makes me feel good! I think its hard for some people to accept that some of us actually dress to impress ourselves and that just because I want to wear a lower cut top or a shorter skirt or post a more revealing photo doesn't mean I am doing that to impress a man, or anyone for that matter, but simply because I think I look fabulous and why wouldn't I want to share that! A lot of the lingerie shoots that I have done I will’ve worked damn hard to tone up or lose a bit of weight for, so why on earth should I feel ashamed for showing that off? I work hard at the gym and to maintain a healthy lifestyle when I am shooting a lot because I want to look as great as I can in these photographs, so if I receive a photo back where I think that my body looks great, of course I’m going to share it, and if that offends you then I’m sorry, but it’s a lot easier to press the unfollow button than waste your energy trying to convince yourself and myself that I have little self respect because of that particular picture. What is so wrong with viewing your body as beautiful and strong! What if I considering highlighting my physical attributes as part of my identity? I have always been the kind of person that has had no shame when it comes to my body, however I understand that not everyone is the same as me. I have definitely had times where I possibly have taken things to far where I have been naked walking around the house whist other people I know may have been there and not felt comfortable with me doing that, so this isn't me saying everyone should be totally ok with me being open about my body because I am, I can hold my hands up and say there possibly have been times that I haven't considered other peoples feelings and comfort levels, which I can apologise for, so for me I think it’s about learning to tone parts of myself down when I’m around others who don’t feel comfortable with that, which I am totally ok with, but when it comes down to what I chose to post on my social media or the clothes in which I wish to go out in, that I shall not tone down for anyone, because quite frankly if you don’t like what I’m posting on my social media, do not comment on it or like it, why not even unfollow me! and as for if you don't like the way that I dress then that’s fine, you don't have to, but really what are you gaining from making someone feel conscious or insecure about their outfit choices? what are you truly getting out of making someone feel upset about something they've chose to wear.

I saw something in an interview that Miley Cyrus did the other day and the guy was asking her if her dad would be ashamed of her for being on TV with her tits out (she didn't actually have her tits out by the way she was wearing a jacket over the shoulders and underneath she had no top on but had some lovely pink glittery nipple tassels covering her) her reply was just brilliant. Miley said “yeah I’m sure my dad would rather me not have my tits out all the time, but I know he’d rather me have my tits out and be a good person than have a shirt on and be a bitch” I LOVE THAT! It’s so true, we tend to be so focused on what people present on the outside that we forget all the great qualities that they may have on the inside too, I remember once when someone close to me said that they believed I must have little self respect because of some of my photo’s and I just thought, how can you really forget every other good quality that I have as a person, and all the other great things that I do for myself, and think that you can truly honestly tell me that I have no self respect based on a photograph of myself? I may post a photo of myself with underwear on or where you can see my naked ass but do you know what else I do? I have therapy twice a week to build myself up to become a better person, I keep a diary where I remind myself of my positive qualities which I write in every day to remind myself of all the things I love and respect myself for, I have strong morals and I stick to them, I am strong minded and stand up for myself, I love and nurture myself and I try each day to be as kind to myself as I possibly can because I know right now I am trying my very best to be the BEST version of myself, everyday I try and work on my negative qualities, and understand myself more, so if I post a photo of myself that you don’t particularly like, that’s not really my problem, but I do not believe that you could deeply look at who I am as a person and declare that I have no self respect because I chose to post a photo of myself where I am showing some skin.

I hope we can learn to teach one another, that clothed or naked we ALL deserve respect. No matter who you are or what you dress like, we are all human and we all deserve support. Everybody should have the right to express themselves however they please, and you don’t have to agree with it, but why not try to accept and support it. The world is a much brighter place when we all learn to empower one another. Be confident and happy with whatever you are doing, and remember to make choices for you and only you. Do things that effect your life in a positive way and never forget that this is your life and you should be living only for you. Lastly, do not let anyone dull your sparkle! Be the brightest most powerful version of you, even if other people don’t like it or understand it. I encourage you to also be aware that we are all human, and we all have feelings no matter how tough we may seem, and it really is hurtful to have people make nasty comments about the way you chose to present yourself, be mindful that everyone is living their own life and doing the best they can, focus on yourself and your life rather than picking at others. To anyone who supports me in what I do and who I am, I am forever grateful. The love and support I receive from some of you is truly heartwarming and I will always do the best I can to support you with the same love and kindness that you support me with. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Emma x