Stop saying sorry

“Over-apologising among women is so prevalent that there is even a drama group dedicated to helping women become more assertive and stop saying sorry. At a Feminism in London 2013 conference at the weekend, a workshop aimed to “explore how we women can find ourselves and our voices to enjoy a place in the world, rather than play under it”.”

From “The nine things women can’t stop saying sorry for” in the Independent. Read the rest of the article and the list of things women should stop apologizing for here.


13 thoughts on “Stop saying sorry

  1. I don’t know- several of those seemed like perfectly reasonable things to say “sorry” about. I certainly do it in many of those situations. The real complaint seems to be that it’s annoying to be around jerks, and that’s true, but a different issue.

  2. I’m of the mind that women should say ‘sorry’ less often than we do, but men need to start apologizing for things more.

  3. I’m sorry, I simply don’t understand why Feminist Philosophers is taking the linkbait to a sexist and judgmental article in the Torygraph. Perhaps my menstrual cycle is making me unable to understand the doublethink behind this? I do apologise for being so thick.

  4. One of the things I apologize for more often: when I disagree radically with someone (perhaps usually a man, but this may be simply due to the higher number of men in the discipline) in a philosophy discussion. This is especially evident in written discussion – when exchanging e-mail comments on each other papers – as my correspondent usually finds long premisses and long concluding remarks where I am sorry for arguing for the opposite position in the debate, and sorry for thinking my correspondent’s main argument does not work at all.
    Ok, I am a student, so this may explain the lack of reported self-confidence when writing to senior researchers or professors. Apologies are usually accompanied by statements about my faults, my likely misunderstandings of the other’s arguments, my weak points… I *know* this is completely useless: if there are faults and weak points the other philosopher will find them, and if my comments highlight important problems and propose interesting ideas the other philosopher will acknowledge my contribution, even if maybe not explicitly. The crucial point is that I am quite confident about my observations and comments, or at least did my best to underline a problem I really believe I understood. And, although being uncertain and doubtful about some passages in my paper, I am not as uncertain as the accompaning apologies seem to show.

  5. Why do we always assume that women are somehow exhibiting a lack of self confidence when they say “sorry” instead of (a) expressing sympathy, a perfectly good neutral use of the term or (b) managing a situation by soothing ruffled feelings. Perhaps the worry is that if it is the latter then the people whose feelings are (unreasonably) ruffled will see no reason to change. But seriously, I should change my behaviour because some men are self-entitled jerks who need to be managed?

  6. I’m pretty sympathetic to what Rachel, Ariadna and Ann have said. Some of the original examples from the Telegraph seem like good examples where women shouldn’t feel any obligation to apologize. But I’ve seen far more situations where we’d all be better off if men changed their behavior to more closely match what women do rather than vice versa.

  7. Maybe because I’m Canadian where saying sorry seems to be a national past time and it’s certainly a joke made about Canadians, but I wish we’d all say sorry less often and save it for the big stuff that really matters.
    A truly Canadian Apology to the USA, courtesy of Rick Mercer from This Hour Has 22 Minutes, CBC Television:

    Hello. I’m Anthony St. George on location here in Washington.

    On behalf of Canadians everywhere I’d like to offer an apology to the United States of America. We haven’t been getting along very well recently and for that, I am truly sorry. I’m sorry we called George Bush a moron. He is a moron, but it wasn’t nice of us to point it out. If it’s any consolation, the fact that he’s a moron shouldn’t reflect poorly on the people of America. After all, it’s not like you actually elected him.

    I’m sorry about our softwood lumber. Just because we have more trees than you, doesn’t give us the right to sell you lumber that’s cheaper and better than your own. It would be like if, well, say you had ten times the television audience we did and you flood our market with great shows, cheaper than we could produce. I know you’d never do that.

    I’m sorry we beat you in Olympic hockey. In our defense I guess our excuse would be that our team was much, much, much, much better than yours. As word of apology, please accept all of our NHL teams which, one by one, are going out of business and moving to your fine country.

    I’m sorry about our waffling on Iraq. I mean, when you’re going up against a crazed dictator, you want to have your friends by your side. I realize it took more than two years before you guys pitched in against Hitler, but that was different. Everyone knew he had weapons.

    I’m sorry we burnt down your White House during the War of 1812. I see you’ve rebuilt it! It’s very nice.

    I’m sorry for Alan Thicke, Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Loverboy, that song from Seriff that ends with a really high-pitched long note.

    Your beer. I know we had nothing to do with your beer, but we feel your pain.

    And finally on behalf of all Canadians, I’m sorry that we’re constantly apologizing for things in a passive-aggressive way which is really a thinly veiled criticism. I sincerely hope that you’re not upset over this. Because we’ve seen what you do to countries you get upset with.

    For 22 minutes, I’m Anthony St. George, and I’m sorry.

    The End – Eh?

  8. Well, Canada should say “sorry” for ” Alan Thicke, Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Loverboy”, to say nothing to Justin Beiber, Alanis Morissette, and Bryan Adams. And the beer bit is clearly confused- it’s a golden age of beer in the US. What does Canada have? Molson? I’m sorry to have to say it, but that’s a lot to be sorry for.

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