Words Women Use

sorryHi Everyone!
Two days ago I was in the gym locker room and getting ready to leave when another woman walked in and took the locker right next to mine. Do you know what I said to her? “I am sorry,” and then I moved out of her way. The funny thing is I wasn’t even in her way. 

Immediately I turned around and asked her “Why did I just say sorry?” 

We stood there for a while trying to figure out a reason good enough for my apology. In that moment I really came to terms with the fact that as women we tend to use phrases/words that always revolve around an apology.

Why do we do that? Did we really do something wrong or are we subconsciouslly afraid that we may offend someone by existing/breathing/looking/or being human?  

Generally speak men and women have different styles of communicating. As speakers, women, express themselves by using a lot of emotions and are more concerned with the impact of their words on others. This concern leads them to  modifying their statements in order to help others feel more comfortable. 

We live in a society which expects women to speak, act, and be a certain way. This isn’t anything new…this has been the case since I have been alive and even before that. As Up Your Worth puts it: 

“We live in a culture that values female voices more when they reflect traditional “lady” characteristics of humility, likability, and politeness above all. Others who’ve written about this topic have addressed more reasons why women might avoid using stronger language. Jezebel’s Tracy Moore wrote about the reality of a male-dominated society where women live with the “the ever-present background fear of being perceived as a nag.” Author Tara Mohr acknowledged that for centuries, “women did not have the political and human rights to protect our safety if we spoke up and threatened or angered those around us.”

Although there are a range of words and phrases used by women which take away from the validity of what is being said there are are few in particular which are heavily weighing us down: 

  1. “Sorry” & “Just”

A. “SORRY.” Even if I were try to count the number of times we as women utilize the word “Sorry” in any given day, I wouldn’t be able to keep track. It is a word used excessively and many a times as was the case in the scenario I described above- we tend to say sorry for things which don’t actually require a sorry. According to research when a woman apologizes all the time she indirectly is taking on more responsibility for tasks and situations than she is actually responsible for. Why should we do that? 

B. “Just.” I never thought of this word being said from a perspective of weakness until I read it in an article online. Although rarely used this word gives people around you more control and portrays the speaker as being defensive about something their form of speech. 

Other statements/phrases that give other people more authority are:

A) “I am not an expert.” 

B) “You’ve worked longer on this than I have.” 

C) Ending a presentation or statement with : “Do you know what I mean?” or “Am I making sense?”- These statements make it seem as if women are not confident in what they are saying. A better way to phrase such statements would be “What do you think?” or “Do you have any comments/feedback?” 

Now I am not here to tell you that you HAVE to modify your language. I am here just to tell you that it is a good idea to keep this in the back of your mind when making a statement because we as women deserve to confidently say what we want without always having to worry about what other people will think. 

For a more in depth analysis you can read this article

Love you all & sending a lot of positive vibes your way, 

Manisha Sareen

 

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Great post. I’ve just finished reading a very interesting book on gender related issues and the challenges faced specifically by females in speaking out, particularly in an advocacy capacity (‘Speaking Out’ by Tara Moss). She touches on what you’ve raised so you may be interested in her views as well. She also notes how gender stereotyping and expectations of females impact on speech modulation, inflection, pitch etc.
    Your post made me think of how deeply entrenched the ‘apology psyche’ is, that we females (not all, but many) in effect almost apologise when delivering statements without using any apology related language whatsoever. I’m talking about the statements that are delivered with an inflection rise at the end (sometimes speed also increases) so it sounds like a question to prepare ourselves to be corrected; seek approval; and soften our views for the audience? Yep those ones. When I hear this speech pattern (which I too used to use before becoming a little more unapologetic about who and what I am), I think wow, you’ve inserted a preemptive apology for what your view is, and for expressing it, in the way that it has been delivered!
    The depth of impact of inequality of power between genders truly knows no end.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow you make such a great point. I didn’t even think of that fact that an apology is indirectly made in many statements without the usage of the word “sorry.” Do you recommend any others books related to this topic? I will look into the one that you recommended. Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will definitely let you know if I can think of any. Off the top of my head this is probably the most thorough one I’ve read specifically on challenges encountered by females in using their voice (metaphorically and literally :)). Hope you enjoy it! Look forward to reading more of your posts.

        Like

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