Bridget Jones Shows Us a Little Something About Respect

Last week I asked if romance was dead — replaced by shot-gun relationships spurred by society’s desire for instant gratification. While many people stepped up and offered some really good insights, there was one message that stood out loud and clear: women needed to take responsibility for their role in the demise of romance.

Bridget Jones is a really great example of a woman who plays into the negative behaviors that make men like her boss, Daniel, very successful in their ability to get from women what they want, whenever they want. I never really appreciated the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary until very recently; the first time I saw it, I thought it was a horrible representation of women as shallow and flighty. Then I experienced a little more life and many more dating mishaps and began to develop a real appreciation for Bridget’s journey to find herself and what truly makes her happy.

In the movie, Bridget makes a promise to herself not to fall for a variety of men, including alcoholics, workaholics, and smooth-operators like her boss, Daniel. But, of course, it comes as no surprise when Bridget responds to Daniel’s flirtations by wearing see-through tops to work and jumping into bed with him knowing full-well he wasn’t making any type of commitment to her. So whose fault is it when Daniel ineviteably breaks Bridget’s heart?

Daniel’s bad boy behavior aside, Bridget’s acceptance of Daniel’s sexually explicit e-mails and comments as replacements for the real courtship she desperately desires gives Daniel the green light to continue to be the pervy boss. And, unfortunately, Bridget is not alone in her acceptance of blatant disrespect by men who just want to get a little action.

What we all need to remember — whether you’re a man or woman, gay or straight — is that we teach people how to treat us. If you’re looking for a committed relationship from someone, don’t accept anything less from them. Doing so sets you up for heartbreak and encourages that person to continue their selfish behavior, thus setting up any future people they encounter for the same — or even worse — experience you had. Life is too short to accept the diet coke of whatever you thirst for.

Luckily for Bridget, she finally realizes her own worth and tells Daniel off in a satisfying scene that ends with Aretha belting out “Respect.” Can you sock it to me?

Love and granny panties,

Mika

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~ by Mika Doyle on August 13, 2010.

8 Responses to “Bridget Jones Shows Us a Little Something About Respect”

  1. What a great post Mika!! Words to live by really. 🙂 How quickly we forget that we deserve respect and should settle for nothing less?? I’m curious when along life we forgot the basics. What’s even worse is that a lot of times women that do stand up for themselves, draw the line in the stand and stick to it get a bad rap when in fact, these women are the ones we should be using as role models. Hopefully, we can teach our daughters (and sons!!) better.

    -Caitlin

    • Thanks, Caitlin! You make a really good point about the stigma against strong women who stand up for what they believe in and fight to get what they want. Most of the time, they’re labeled a “b*tch,” while assertive men are seen as strong leaders. How’s that fair? I say we just keep on fighting and let them think what they will!

  2. Well-written and insightful post! You are right, if we let other people disrespect us, they will only continue to push our boundaries.

  3. That was a very good blog post. I like how you made it relate to all people. I think you made some key points that tied it together very nicely.

  4. I have been guilty of expecting more from someone who clearly told me that he did not want to be in a relationship. I accepted
    “blatant disrespect” as replacement for real courtship, in hopes that it would progress into something more. I’m not going to lie, I liked the attention, however I see now that it is not going to get me where I’d like to be. This topic came up in conversation quite recently with a coworker. I couldn’t understand his point of view and she said that we are all selfish. I was selfish? It’s me that “encourages that person to continue their selfish behavior”? It was me that wants a committed relationship even after the fact that he told me he didn’t want one. After all I am still going to have actions that try to get me to accomplish my agenda. As we all have agendas subconsciously or not. So trying to hope for a relationship is selfish because I am not respecting his wishes, as he is selfish for not wanting a relationship and stringing me along. Does that make sense? Lose-Lose situation 😦

    • Those are some really great points, Melissa. Since I’ve been one of those women who has tried to date a guy who did not want a relationship with me (but still wanted the attention he got from me), it’s hard for me to admit that you’re right in the fact that it was selfish on my part, too. It’s really easy to let yourself feel victimized instead of taking responsibility for your role in the situation. After having gone through it a couple of times, I feel like I’m finally “wising up” and learning my own worth. I just wish I didn’t make myself learn the hard way!

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