Sorry: Sugar Coated Non-Consent

I wrote before over on my personal blog, Dreaming Aloud about how saying sorry was epidemic for women… and was a major feminist issue.

There’s a big buzz about a new Pantene ad in the US which calls attention to how the apology is too often used by women as a crutch and a way to downplay their power. Time magazine and Forbes are writing about it. And it does seem to be a trait which defines women, rather than men.

And I’m not just talking about sorry when you bump into someone. But sorry if they bump into you and spill your drink down you.

It’s madness. A cultural epidemic amongst women. And we do it unconsciously all the time.

“Women know they have to be likable to get ahead. Apologizing is one way to make yourself more accessible and less threatening,” says Rachel Simmons, author of The Curse of the Good Girl. “Apologizing is one way of being deemed more likable.”  Sorry is simply another way of downplaying our power, of softening what we do, to seem nice.

(Read the full article here.)

The Happy Womb

Reading another woman’s take on why she’s giving up saying sorry (for things that she’s not actually sorry for), I suddenly saw the root of it.

I had previously thought it was sorry I take up space.

But actually it goes deeper – it’s sorry… but no.

It’s all about consent.

And mama do we know what a can of worms THAT is for women.

Women… for a very long time have not been allowed to, not safe to, say no.

Our consent has not been our own to give.

And so we have found ways to get around it. To soften it. Sweeten it.

Sorry is the sugar that helps the medicine of consent go down.

Sorry, but no.

Because no by itself is just too dangerous, too inflammatory, to much of a sign of a woman in her power who needs to be taken down a peg or two. Or shown who’s boss.

So next time you say yes… when you mean no.

Next time you say sorry. When you mean no.

How about just say no?

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