Women: stop apologizing when you have nothing to apologize for.
A new video from Pantene’s #ShineStrong series shows a number of situations where women say “sorry” for things they shouldn’t — and the results will hit home with many viewers. Studies show that women apologize more than men, often for perfectly reasonable acts like, you know, taking up space. The scenes of women apologizing for asking a question, not immediately anticipating someone else’s needs and asking for something they want or need are eerily familiar.
In a March 2014 blog for The Huffington Post, Ani Vrabel nailed exactly what the problem is with women apologizing when there’s no need to say “I’m sorry”:
At some point, I began using “sorry” as a synonym for “excuse me.” It came to mean, “I didn’t see you there and you startled me!” and “I have a question” and “I’m carrying so many things that I’m taking up more space on the subway than usual.” It rarely meant, “I made a poor decision or did something wrong and it impacted you negatively. I recognize this and feel bad about it and would like to make things better between us.”
And in a February 2013 piece for Jezebel, Karyn Polewaczyk suggested that women over-apologize because they feel “undeserving.” “Women are expected to be exceptionally grateful for the crumbs tossed our way,” She wrote. “And so we show our gratitude by cushioning our wants with a series of, ‘I know this is asking a lot, but…’, ‘I hate to ask, but could you…’ and ‘I might sound like an idiot for wondering, but…’-isms. ”
The Pantene commercial also shows what certain scenes look like without an apology — encouraging women to #ShineStrong. While it’s polite to apologize for, say, hogging the bedcovers, the commercial does a good job at unpacking something most of us are probably guilty of and encouraging us to change the habit.