Yesha Callahan

Rihanna: ‘The More We Respect Ourselves The More Men Will Respect Us’

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 3.47.09 PMRihanna’s year has started out on a good foot, with her upcoming movie premiere for Home and being named ambassador for Dior. During a recent press conference for the Dreamworks film, Rihanna shared some interesting thoughts about her life.

On respect: “The more we respect ourselves the more men will respect us, I have both sides to me and I think most women do. We are strong but they are very vulnerable as well. For me, I get very fierce and passionate about my career and about my family. But there are also things that make me become a little girl. Like, I love balloons, that definitely really brings out the little girl in me.”

On being strong: “I think women are way stronger than they know, or sometimes they do know but they don’t always feel like being strong. Sometimes, you’re like, ‘Can I get a pass?’”

On Tip: “Tip is so bold. And the way she dresses and how she wears her hair is not perfect and I feel like little girls should feel comfortable being that way, being strong and being themselves.”

The main point I find interesting is her respectability comment about women. Honestly, I think it’s a load of crock. No matter how much you respect yourself as a woman, there is going to always be someone out there who will attempt to disrespect you. Now how you choose to handle that disrespect is another story.

In a perfect world, women would get the respect they deserve 24/7, but even the Rihannas of the world, occasionally will be disrespected by loved ones, or even those with a finger on their career. Her comments remind me of Bill Cosby’s ‘pull up your pants’ nonsense and respectability politics when it comes to black people eradicating stereotypes.

No matter how much you respect yourself, someone is always going to try to push the envelope and challenge that. Best believe it.

Image Credits: Getty Images

  1. March 17, 2015 - Reply

    Unfortunately what you say is true, males can disrespect no matter how upright we may carry and respect ourselves, some folks are just gutter, take street harassment for instance.
    Now tolerating disrespect in personal relationships is just no bueno.

    • March 17, 2015 - Reply


      I am always bothered when people say if we as X respect ourselves then Y will respect us. Usually the way a person treats you is more of a reflection on that person not the target. Now if I stick around and continually allow the behavior then it’s on me because I have the choice to move on.

      • March 17, 2015 - Reply


        Exactly. We can’t take responsibility for someone else behavior

      • March 17, 2015 - Reply


        Exactly, Amber. I wish I had read your comment before I wrote mine.

      • March 17, 2015 - Reply


        Great point, Amber.

  2. March 17, 2015 - Reply

    i disagree w/the author. i think rihanna is spot on. yes i do still get disrespected every once in a while, but i definitely notice a lot fewer guys trying to press me the way the used to when i was younger & still building my confidence. nowadays, the most i’ll get is maybe one comment & as soon as they see that i’m not the least bit interested in entertaining their good time, they walk away, which is the most respect a worthless man can give me. most of the men that approach me do it respectfully. & most of the guys that you can tell aren’t about nothing take one look at me & turn away b/c they can tell it won’t end the way they want it to. so at least for me, what rihanna said is spot on.

    • March 18, 2015 - Reply


      I agree with you totally and have seen this in my life as well.

  3. March 17, 2015 - Reply

    What I got from Rihanna’s statement is this: the more we respect ourselves, the less we’ll tolerate disrespect, and that’s a fact!

    • March 18, 2015 - Reply


      Exactly… For the most part we teach people how to treat us. I’m not talking about chance encounters but the people in our lives everyday. It’s similar to the saying “no one can love you until you love yourself”.

  4. March 17, 2015 - Reply

    There’s something I don’t get. If a woman is disrespected, it’s about “her.” If a woman is raped, it’s about “her.” When Blacks face racism, it’s about “us.” When the police shoot an unarmed Black person, it’s about “the victim,” not “the cop.” My point is blaming the victim seems to be societies way of not addressed the disrespectful person, the racist, or the cop.

    Like the author of this piece said, it’s not always about women, Blacks, or whomever. It’s the person who lacks character and manners. It’s their problem that they are disrespectful. It’s the mental illness of the racist, not the victim. I’m tired of victim blaming.

    • March 18, 2015 - Reply


      Very good points 🙂
      See, now I’m not gonna talk ish about Rihanna because of your comment 😛

  5. March 17, 2015 - Reply

    I can’t really take Rihannas comment seriously because I think she has no self respect everytime you turn around she’s naked somewhere and she was willing to go back to a man who abused her. She def. doesn’t practice what she preaches. And in my opinion respect is earned not given.

    • March 19, 2015 - Reply

      @jasmine jones


    • March 19, 2015 - Reply

      @jasmine jones

      This was my initial thought. Maybe she’s maturing? I don’t know, but she’s the last person I’d think would know anything about self-respect.

  6. March 20, 2015 - Reply

    Respecting yourself does not mean yourself does not make you immune from disrespect but it tells others that you will not tolerate it. As my granny use to always tell us: “Liberties comes through carelessness.”

  7. March 20, 2015 - Reply

    I’m sorry but that’s a strange quote coming from her

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