I hate that women feel bad about saying “sorry” too much. In addition to being pressured to be self-effacing, shrinking, and people-pleasing, mainstream girl-power feminism has now created a situation where women have to feel bad about it.
This “don’t say sorry 2k16″ crap does nothing to address the massive social pressures that push women to be polite and servile; all it does is create a double-bind where women feel that they must please people in order to succeed, but that they also must come across as assertive and tough or they fail as feminists.
And there’s nothing wrong with being kind and apologetic in the first place. It’s just that being brashly confident has been coded as male and strong and desirable for so long that it’s a deeply embedded means of achieving success in our culture. But valuing confidence and aggressiveness over politeness and kindness is arbitrary. There’s no reason for it. The only reason we say that those traits are the keys are to success is because they’re traits we associate with being a strong dude.
Admitting to mistakes and caring about the feelings and desires of other people is a sign of strength. But because it’s “womanly” behavior, in society’s eyes it’s weakness and a roadblock to success.
Women don’t need to apologize less. Men need to apologize more. As long as we keep framing gender equality in terms of how women should change or better approximate ideal male behavior, we’re gonna fail to achieve anything resembling equity.
Originally published at erikadprice.tumblr.com.