The amount of times women on campus have apologized for unnecessary reasons is alarming. Apologizing for things such as interrupting someone, for bumping arms with another, or even apologizing for apologizing seems to be a trend on PLNU’s campus.
Many of us don’t recognize the number of times we say, “I’m sorry” on a daily basis. “There are a lot of power dynamics going in this conversation, one of them being the unconscious pressures for women to remain in the background of society at all times,” says senior Bailey Taylor, a history major minoring in women’s studies, explaining why she thinks women over-apologize. “At the foundation, demanding the acknowledgment of a female’s presence, regardless of the inconvenience that may cause, is an insult and deconstruction of traditional masculine values. Chronically apologizing for just being is one of the many small habits adopted by women that result in the larger subordination of ourselves as a group.”
There aren’t enough studies to claim why women apologize more than men, however, there are studies that show some evidence. In a test from 2010, for the Psychological Science journal, 33 university students (both men and women) recorded the number of times they apologized and had someone apologize to them, for 12 days.
The journals said that women were more prone to apologize when they believed they committed wrongdoing. Ross Oakes-Mueller, a Point Loma professor of psychology, explains, saying that “women apologized about 25% more than men did.”
Oakes-Mueller also examines that there could be factors in our emotions as to why one gender may apologize more than the other. He says that there is a difference between primary and secondary emotions. Primary emotions are what we feel first as a response to a certain scenario, such as immediately feeling happy or sad, whereas secondary emotions are a feeling about a feeling.
“It’s going to take girls realizing that their voices are just as important as those of men and that they are not a burden and [not] responsible for everybody’s well being,” says Jill Butler, a sophomore and a history major. Though it may take time to catch oneself for apologizing for unnecessary things, there are techniques to help better your apologetic reasoning.
Senior political science major, Elina Mendoza says, “A great strategy that has worked for me is to replace my unnecessary ‘sorry’ with ‘thank you’ instead. It eliminates the need for others to provide their assurance to me, and instead willingly gives loving appreciation to who I’m communicating with.”