Additionally, in fair warning, there is a chance I may not publish this book. It's turning out to be the darkest thing I've ever written and I do have some other concerns as well. I will keep you updated if I decide to publish the book or not.
In preparation for another project, I found myself binging on a whole host of women-oriented podcasts. They ranged from feminism to careerism to politics to art, but the one that caught my morbid attention was on fat acceptance. Completely disagreeing with the premise and viewing the fat acceptance movement as a coping mechanism, it was actually very interesting to study something I believed held no veracity whatsoever. But of all the interesting theories, viewpoints, sub-theories, and philosophies in fat acceptance the one that stood out the most was a concept called “Self-Love.”
There is no official definition of it, but as far as I could tell “self-love” was separate from self-respect or self-confidence in that it went beyond merely respecting oneself and doing what was in your best interests. It was more akin to asexuality wherein you didn’t need the love or approval of other people, and that loving yourself was not only necessary but sufficient unto itself. It also held more in common with love from another person in that it was reaffirming, continual, and not merely an attitude or a policy one would hold such as “you should respect yourself” or “be confident in yourself.” It was, in my opinion, a replacement for external love.
Though more click-bait than a verifiable trend, you’ve seen this anecdotally in recent years with women deciding to marrying themselves (or their dog, or their cat, there was even one where a woman married her degree). In some of the career podcasts you could also see this “self-love” where the entire focus was myopically on a career for career’s sake and not any loved ones around them. And the words “amazing,” “beautiful,” and “brave” no longer hold any meaning as they now function more like units of currency to show love for a fellow woman than anything those descriptive words would have meant. But the unifying thing be it podcasts on fat acceptance or anecdotes in the real world was that self-love was insular. It could be self-conferred. And it didn’t matter what the external world thought, according to self-love, you could become your own printing press machine of love, making you infinitely wealthy in love and affection.
But for all the podcasts recorded, articles written, even books published, there is a much simpler word that encapsulates this all, including the nuanced theories and insular, independent aspect of self-love. It’s called “masturbation.” Because while one should certainly love themselves, and they should certainly have the self-respect and confidence to do as they please in life, taking the step to use self-love as a replacement for external love is the definition of masturbation.
The origins of self-love harken back to the beginning days human’s existence and are certainly not relegated to women. Narcissism, ego, arrogance, and traditional self-love have all been an unfortunate part of human nature. But this new avant-garde, philosophical strain of self-love is more due to the self-esteem movement, which has been a defining trademark of the Millennials.