As a Humanistic Studies major currently studying the Classical and Medieval Eras, it's safe to say I have come across a lot of interesting characters. And by interesting, I mean massive douche bags who measure their success with military prowess and are not afraid to let the whole world know just how awesome they think they are. It seems like no matter who we are reading, from Augustus to Odysseus to Abelard to basically anyone else, everyone is ready to shout their accomplishments.
I always bring up in class how this quality in all of these men bothers me, and it's always the men who have this quality. I mean, I know Augustus is writing his own memorial, but come on, man, do you really need all that fluff?
Today, we were discussing Abelard's and Heloise's letters, and another student brought up how maybe what we're seeing as arrogance (or what I see as douche bag-ery) is not actually arrogance. Maybe we were just reading this with a modern lens. A lens which likes to tell women they're beautiful but condemn them when they call themselves beautiful. A lens which vilifies anyone who recognizes his or her own intelligence.
So maybe they're not douche bags. Maybe they're really confident people who recognize that they are great because they did great things.
Then, I started thinking about modern times. I love One Direction, but I really hate their line, "You don't know you're beautiful, and that's what makes you beautiful." As if a woman's beauty can come only from the admiration of a man and not from herself. As if her recognition of her own beauty in some way diminishes it.
Now, anyone who knows me knows I'm pretty confident. When I'm good at something, I know I'm good at it. When I look good, I know I look good. I don't pretend like I didn't notice a good quality I have. Does that make me a douche bag? I mean, yeah probably, but confidence shouldn't be seen as cocky either.
Our society has decided that anyone who knows their strengths and abilities is in the wrong for knowing them, and honestly, that is such a dumb principle. Shouldn't people be able to be proud of themselves and recognize themselves just as much as they recognize others? Sure, it's not very nice of people to go around saying "I'm smarter than you" to everyone they meet, but there's nothing wrong with saying "I'm smart" or "I'm pretty" or "I write really good fanfiction" or anything else that a person is actually good at.
Confidence should and does come from within. So let's stop tearing people down for noticing the things that we would've noticed in them anyway.
Confidence is important. Loving yourself is important. Appreciating yourself is important. Lets stop acting like that makes people douche bags.