August 8, 2020

Sorry, Not Sorry: Women’s Toxic Relationship with Apologizing

posted on: Thursday March 5, 2020

by Katherine Torok ’20

Associate Editor-in-Chief

“OMG so sorry for texting!” I quickly type after finding out that the person I was texting was away for the weekend. However, prior to the initial text asking what they were up to, I was unaware of the fact that they took a spur of the moment vacation. So why did I apologize? Why did I feel the need to say sorry?

Because women are trained to say “sorry.” We immediately put the blame on ourselves, like we did something wrong.

However, most times when I find myself apologizing, I realize after that there was nothing to apologize for.

Towards the end of the recent Taylor Swift documentary, Miss Americana, Swift begins talking about various double-standards that exist in our society. She pauses, quickly says, “Sorry, that was a real soap box,” then gets angry at herself for apologizing. Sarcastically, she questions, “Sorry, was I loud in my own house that I bought with the songs that I wrote about my own life?”

I—like many other women—have linked apologizing with politeness. I don’t want to seem rude or like a burden; therefore, I apologize. However, there are a plethora of things that I apologize for that don’t need an apology. I once even found myself saying, “I’m sorry” to a chair that I bumped into.

While this isn’t an excuse to let women toss their manners out the window, it is more so to remind women that we don’t need to apologize for any inconvenience that comes our way. We put the blame on ourselves when in reality, no one deserves the blame.

After I texted, “OMG so sorry for texting!” they immediately replied back, “Don’t apologize!” They were right: I don’t need to apologize, just like how Swift shouldn’t apologize for being loud in the house that she bought with the money from the songs she wrote about her own life.

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