When Aretha Franklin recorded “Respect” in 1967, the song became forever linked with the Queen of Soul.
“R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find out what it means to me.”
“Respect” was a huge hit against the smoldering backdrop of Vietnam, the Civil Rights movement, and the women’s movement. The song quickly became the anthem of the battle for equal rights for women.
Ironically, it wasn’t Aretha who wrote the lyrics for “Respect.” The original lyrics were written by a man-Otis Redding.
Aretha heard Redding’s song in 1965, liked it, tweaked it, flipped it, sang it from a woman’s point of view and was catapulted into the stars.
Meanwhile, Otis Redding was still sitting on the dock of the bay dreaming about getting a little respect. The story goes that Redding got the inspiration for the song when he was on tour complaining about the grueling schedule. His drummer said, “What are you griping about? You’re on the road all the time. All you can look for is a little respect when you come home.”
Women and men sometimes speak different dialects of the same language. Men often lean toward the vernacular of respect. They’d just like a little respect. Not that women don’t appreciate respect and that men don’t have a need for love.
Love and respect intertwine, yet love tends to be more emotional while respect is more concrete, based on actions as opposed to feelings of the heart.
Respect means to hold in high or special regard, to esteem someone, often for worthy and notable things they have done.
Browsing Father’s Day cards, one after another mentions celebrating Dad, thanking him for being the best dad, the greatest dad and the nicest dad. Not a single mention of respect. But then 80% of card buyers are female, and cards are created with female targets in mind.
Men have taken a beating in the past few years. Certainly, there are male reprobates and additional tiers of reprobates who cover for them. But we now tend to paint all men with the indiscriminate brush of toxic masculinity. In a growing number of corners and on many college campuses, if you stand male, you stand guilty.
Faithfulness, hard work, helping put a roof overhead and food on the table, doing the routine when you’d rather do something else, showing up for the job of being a dad day after day after day are deeds and accomplishments worthy of notice. And respect.
If you have been blessed in such a fashion, buy the tie or the golf club for your dad this year, but what he might like most is hearing he has done a thing or two that has earned your respect.
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.