Yesterday, I entered the elevator as usual and another woman walked in behind me. As we waited the few seconds it takes for the door to begin closing, a man rushes in and makes it while almost getting crushed. I hear her mutter “I’m sorry” under her breathe. “WTF?!” I thought as she seemed to catch herself and realized him almost losing a limb to catch an elevator was totally not her fault. I began to think why are women wired to apologize so much? Society has conditioned women to feel they have to be problem solvers and multi-taskers all while being docile and compulsively apologetic. I am not sure in what universe this works.
Although there are valid reasons to apologize and be a decent human being, in comparison to our male counterparts, women apologize significantly more. There are countless studies that compare the nature of women and men. Many of these studies focus on how we assert ourselves and view our mistakes. An article on Psychologytoday.com analyzed studies on the topic and found that for the most part women and men equally apologize for what they have done wrong. The interesting piece is that men do not think they have as many offenses that deserve an apology. Women on the other hand report more instances of wrong doing and therefore apologize more. Why do we feel sorry for every little thing?
In 2014, Pantene launched a campaign against this epidemic and showed light on everyday instances where women apologize.
I can attest to being part of this epidemic. Recently, I’ve apologized for everything from someone bumping into me to spending too much time deciding what I want to order at the drive through. If I am rude or wrong, I apologize no matter what. Feeling apologetic for taking up space, speaking up or voicing an opinion doesn’t always add up.
I challenge you to keep track of how many times you apologize over a week. Were they for a real transgression or simply part of a subconscious gender role? Let’s make an effort to not be sorry and just be fierce! I hope you all are empowered today by putting one less unnecessary sorry out in the universe.