I was watching a morning program and they spotlighted a Pantene Hair commercial. In this commercial they addressed the fact that women tend to apologize even when they did not do anything wrong. This was not something that Pantene just came up with without merit.
Research has repeatedly proven that girls are socialized to say “sorry” much more than boys. This unfortunate truth applies even when girls did not do anything wrong and carries over even into adulthood.
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This Pantene commercial reminded me of one of the greatest pieces of advice that I received. I had a meeting at a very out of the way location (before GPS) and was given incorrect directions. As a result, I was late. I came in of course rushed and flushed and began to apologize and apologize and apologize and apologize. This woman, who happened to be my boss, turned to me and said,
“You only need to apologize once and move on.”
I never forgot that. I don’t think she even knows how that simple sentence changed my life.
I believe that we should teach our girls and ourselves for that matter, that there is a time for everything. We should not have one mode of operating in our repertoire. We have to begin to quickly navigate between these modes just as our male counterparts have been trained to do successfully from birth.
It is important for us to teach our girls the difference between niceness, assertiveness and aggressiveness, not only through our words but also through our body language, in order to be competitive in our careers and in our lives. We must know when to be nice and say, “it’s ok, you can go first.” We also must know when to be assertive and say, “I will go first.”
But we also must learn when to be aggressive and say nothing and just unapologetically go and get it!
Trying to break a habit can be difficult. Many times we relapse back to niceness when we should not. I can just hear a friend of mine saying,
“you get more bees with honey than with vinegar.”
See this is the point, being assertive and even aggressive at times does not mean that we are being “unkind,” that is far from the case. We are understandably concerned about the “Bitch” factor. Yep, we all know what that is, right? To combat this label we sometimes prefer to be viewed as nice, rather than a “Bitch.” As a result, we may over-compensate our “niceness” even to the point of accepting fault when there is no fault.
- What do you all think?
- What message should we be sending to our daughters?
- Do you think women apologize more than men?
- Why do women apologize when there is nothing to apologize for?
- Is apologizing, when there is not fault, a sign of weakness or a sign of respect?
- How should women combat the “Bitch” factor, or should we even worry about being perceived as a “bitch”?
We would like to thank Ms. Shandra Banutu-Gomez, for contributing her article, “Please,” “Thank you,” “Sorry” to this blog. She is a public health professional, health and english college instructor, and consultant. She and her husband Dr. Michael Banutu–Gomez, a college professor, are passionate educators. In addition to their purists in academia here in the United States, they built a college in The Gambia, West Africa. Ms. Banutu-Gomez is an antique enthusiast and dealer. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and beautiful daughter.
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