Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Stop Apologizing Please


Lots of chitter chatter online about the new Pantene advertisement and the overuse of the word sorry by the women of the world.  Take a look and see what all the fuss is about.



The advertisement  is based on research that appears in the September online issue of Psychological Science.  The Researchers analyzed the number of self-reported offences and apologies made by 66 subjects over a 12-day period. The data showed that women consistently apologized more times than men did. However, the data also indicated that women report more offenses than men. In other words they have a lower threshold for offences. So the issue is not female over-apology. Instead, there may be a gender difference in what is considered offensive in the first place. In a second study three separate offences were rated by 120 subjects on a seven-point scale. And women consistently rated the three offences as more severe than men did. Turns out that men are just as likely as women to apologize for a given offense.  But their threshold for thinking they have committed an offense is higher.


In Love Story, yeah I know this really ages me, there is the memorable line where Ali McGraw  says "Love is never having to say you sorry."  For those of you who are wondering what the heck I'm talking about,  its a 1970's romantic drama written by Erick Segal, who also authored the best selling novel by the same name.  It was directed by Arthur Hiller and starred Ryan O'Neil and Ali MacGraw.  It just so happens it was the first film I ever saw at the theater  and I wasn't sorry I watched it.   But if "love means never having to say your sorry", then I have never been in love. I have to apologise all the time to my loved ones, for a whole range of issues - that cover all the various definitions outlined in the Oxford dictionary. 
  1. According to the  Oxford  Dictionary "sorry" can  have lots of different meanings.  Here are some:

1 Feeling sad or distressed through sympathy with someone else’s misfortune:I was sorry to hear about what happened to your family
(sorry for) Filled with compassion for: I felt sorry for the poor boys working for him
Feeling regret or penitence: he said he was sorry he had upset me
Used to express apologysorry—I was trying not to make a noise
Used as a polite request that someone should repeat something that one has failed to hear or understand: I’m sorry—you were saying? 
In a poor or pitiful state:  he looks a sorry sight with his broken jaw

In the U- tube clip, the women are mainly using the word "sorry" as an apology. So what do you think?  Do women apologize too much or are we just a bit more sensitive to the possibility of others taking offence?  Are we now suppose to apologise for apologising too much and feel guilty because we over use the word? So you apologise for other reasons not mentioned in the dictionary?

In a recent article by Jezebel  she claimed that women are  not " genetically programmed to act like this, or that men have a "higher threshold" for offensive behavior. I think it's that women are expected to be exceptionally grateful for the crumbs tossed our way—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. "  

In addition, I feel women have a tenancy to feel guilty about asking for what they want and also for not living up to "the super woman" standard.  I know recently, I apologized because I did not have time to work in the Club Canteen for an equestrian event being held at our Pony Club.  My daughter was not even participating in the event and we had a busy weekend as she was performing in an Eisteddfod  band.  Still, I felt guilty and did some home baking for the club canteen.  Do you apologise out of a sense of guilt especially if you feel like your not living up to the superwoman standard?


You've probably heard about the 5 days of gratitude challenge, well I am going to set another challenge.  Record over 5 days how many times you use the word sorry in different context.  Then determine if you could have used another word instead.  Over the next 5 days catch yourself before you say "sorry" and insert another word.  Let me know how you go.