The words you use, the inflection in your voice, and your body language are all key components of communication. So with hundreds of thousands of words in the English language, why do women so often use the word ‘sorry’?
This isn’t meant to question your hardworking parents who taught you to be appreciative of what is offered and given to you. This is meant to scrutinize what has been deemed an expectation of all those who identify as a female.
Women are generally expected to use kind language, so as not to sound “bitchy”. Additionally, girls often doubt themselves and add phrases like, “I think that…”, “Sorry to interrupt…” or even “This may be dumb, but…”.
Even the same actions made by a man are perceived differently coming from a woman. For example, a suggestion a man makes may not be taken as well if a female peer offers it. Or, to reference a very publicised and recent event, think about the presidential candidate debate. If Hillary Clinton had interrupted as often as Trump, she would most likely have received comments about how rude she is, as well as how “unfit” she is compared to a male contender.
As a woman about to enter the professional workplace in a few short years, this concerns me. How can it be possible that the exact same statement or idea from two individuals can be taken as two completely different things just because the speakers’ genders differ?
The current state of feminine language use is something that needs to be brought to the attention to everyone. Even in the 21st century, men are given more leeway as to what they say and how they present it. This is because it is generally more acceptable for men to be more aggressive and assertive. Women who are direct and clear with their words and actions are often mistaken for individuals searching for confrontation. The lower threshold for directness from women is what is causing women to have to shift their frame of thought, and that is not okay. Enough societal expectations cloud our judgement everyday, why add how we talk to the list?
A women should not have to apologize for being strong, fearless, and a leader in her area of work.
Saying sorry to accompany your words in fear of appearing aggressive is like saying sorry for being a strong woman. So stand tall, shoulders back, and say what you mean! And stop saying sorry!