Victoria's_Secret_Store_4,_722_Lexington_Ave,_New_York,_NY_10022,_USA_-_Dec_2012

Victoria’s Secret Reminds Us Why We Should Stop Taking Victoria’s Secret Seriously

If you’ve been inside a mall or shopped for a new bra recently, you may have noticed a shift in Victoria’s Secret marketing strategy. You still can’t walk by without seeing a 12-by-24-foot image of a woman in her skivvies, and the VS website remains borderline pornographic. But where before there were exclusively busty women in pushup bras, the lingerie brand has made room for a different look: a new ad plastered on store windows and on the company’s website reads “No padding is sexy now!” next to a photo of three cleavage-less young women in padless bras. If you dare to enter the pink and black lucite fortress, you’ll find a store awash with an unprecedented variety of unpadded bras and bralettes: lace, spandex, racerback, high-neck, cut out, seamless, ones that close in back, ones that close in front.

Far be it from me to criticize Victoria’s Secret for telling women that they can be sexy without a padded bra, but I can’t help but chuckle at VS’s new message about natural beauty. Why? Well, because Victoria’s Secret has built an empire on doing just the opposite…

Read more at Verilymag.com…

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This #MyCalvins Ad is Everything That’s Wrong With Modern Advertising

At long last, spring is upon us. Flowers are beginning to bloom, and the weather is warming up. In the fashion world, increasing demand for lighter clothing means that heavy winter coats are on clearance and clothing companies are marketing their Spring collections. Unfortunately, the season also traditionally ushers in a bevy of highly sexualized images of scantily clad ladies. Calvin Klein’s latest campaign is illustrative.

In anticipation of its spring 2016 collection, Calvin Klein commenced an ad campaign built around the hashtag #mycalvins. Launched on Instagram and advertised on billboards and in shopping malls across the country, the campaignfeatures celebrities such as Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner wearing the famous brand along with the words “I _____ in #mycalvins.” Some of the individual images are harmless and even inspiring (I reflect in #mycalvins, says fully dressed Kendrick Lamar). Many others are utterly inappropriate.

One particularly unfortunate set of images has recently drawn criticism. An enormous billboard in New York City’s neighborhood of Soho displays actress Klara Kristin lounging with her dress hiked up with the slogan, “I seduce in #mycalvins.” Directly to the right, rapper Fetty Wap’s face is displayed along with the slogan, “Imake money in #mycalvins.”

There is, of course, nothing new about the pairing of images. Women are constantly portrayed as sexual objects next to depictions of men that are fully clothed or much less suggestive. Intentionally or not, however, the juxtaposition here aptly highlights the uniquely female nature of hypersexualization in advertising. While I think that most American women are pretty well used to it, rarely do advertisers make the double standard quite as explicit as Calvin Klein has succeeded in doing.

The ad may be par for the course when it comes to modern advertising, but women are speaking out. In particular, Heidi Zak, CEO and founder of ThirdLove, a women’s lingerie company whose mission is to design bras that really fit real women, is taking Calvin Klein to task for the display. Launching the #MoreThanMyUnderWear campaign, Zak and her team approached passersby on the streets of New York to find out what real women (and a few men) think about the billboard. Unsurprisingly, many were offended by the ad, calling it “inappropriate,” “obnoxious,” “unnecessary,” “terrible,” and “offensive.” “It conforms to really unfortunate stereotypes,” said one pedestrian. “It’s a double standard,” says another.

Compiling the responses into a video, Zak’s team created a petition asking Calvin Klein CEO Steve Shiffman to remove the billboard. Zak also penned a personal letter to Shiffman explaining her request. “It’s striking that almost a century after women won the right to vote,” Zak explains, “companies like yours are still propagating these offensive and outdated gender stereotypes: Men go to work and make money, while women are nothing more than sex objects…We should be illustrating that women do more than simply ‘seduce.'”

Modern advertisements are so thoroughly saturated with harmful imagery that it is hard to know where one would begin to make improvements. As one woman remarked of the billboard, “So much is inappropriate about the way women are portrayed in this world…add it to the list…what are you gonna do?” Calling attention to the problem is a good place to start. One doesn’t have to entirely agree with Zak’s gender philosophy to appreciate that the #MoreThanMyUnderWear campaign, and others like it, are holding companies to higher standards. Here’s to calling out sexism and being empowered women—oh, and whatever I’m wearing, I certainly will not be in “my Calvins.”

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I wrote this article for Verily Magazine, where it was originally published.

Photo by Alex Proimos

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Shamelessness and Confidence are Two Different Things

I recently wrote an article for Verily Magazine concerning Pirreli’s 2016 calendar, the one in which they decided to eschew the tradition of featuring a crew of naked size 2 models in favor of (mostly) clothed women chosen for their contributions to society. The exceptions to the no-nudity rule were Amy Schumer and Serena Williams, both of whose bodies stray from the modern “ideal.” Both pictures were widely lauded in the mainstream media as victories over body-shamers and monuments to body confidence. My article addresses the growing trend of using public nudity to handle criticism or assert one’s confidence. “I think it is odd and somewhat troubling to associate confidence with one’s willingness to appear nude in public, as the latter is neither a requirement nor a guarantee of the former. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: One’s willingness to walk around naked is a poor measure of confidence.”

Unsurprisingly, the reaction to the article has been pretty negative.

You can read the full article here.

P.S. Like most journalists/writers, I do not ultimately control the headlines that accompany my articles. Something to keep in mind.

 

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What Can Feminists Learn From A So-Called “Anti-Feminist?”

Self-proclaimed anti-feminist Suzanne Venker was scheduled to give a speech, titled “One Step Forward, Ten Steps Back: Why Feminism Fails,” at Williams College as part of its “Uncomfortable Learning” Speaker Series. Ironically, students at the college were so uncomfortable with the prospect (one student accused the student who invited her of “dipping [his] hands in the blood” of marginalized people) that the event was canceled. However, Venker later made the speech she planned to give available online. Curious, I looked into it, and, as absurd as it may seem, I think there is a lot that we self-proclaimed feminists have to learn from her.

What I learned was surprising. While Venker refuses to align herself with feminists and has been highly critical of feminist movements, there is nothing she says that is inherently “anti-feminist.” As such notable people as Aziz Ansari, Hillary Clinton, and Emma Watson have all reminded us, feminism, by definition, is the belief that women and men ought to have equal rights and opportunities. Therefore, as Watson says, “If you stand for equality, you are a feminist.” Interestingly, Venker’s opinions do not violate that definition.

Asked why she is not a feminist, Venker explained that she does not subscribe to the notions that (a) women in America are oppressed or (b) the only difference between men and women are their genitals. She may be wrong about whether women are oppressed, and we can argue about whether women and men are by their natures different, but—by our very own definition of feminism—those positions are not inconsistent with what feminism is.

Far be it for me to force someone into a movement they openly disavow, but it is worth pointing out that Venker does not disavow what equality feminists so desperately desire. Rather, she (harshly) criticizes the feminist movement for failing to truly obtain it. And if her accusations carry any weight, then they are accusations that any true feminist might want to take seriously…

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE at VerilyMag.com

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I wrote this article for Verily Magazine, where the full article was originally published.

Yes, “My Clothes Are Not My Consent,” but Clothes Still Matter

By Mingle Media TV

Photo via Mingle Media TV

This past weekend, actress and model Amber Rose took to the streets of Los Angeles dressed in black lingerie to lead a so-called “slut walk,” a protest aimed at combating the notion that any woman, regardless of how she is dressed, deserves to be sexually assaulted. About 250 women and men joined her; some women wore underwear, and others went altogether topless.

The walk is not the first of its kind: Slut walks originated in Toronto in 2011, after a police officer suggested that women should “avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” Since then, these protests have taken place across the country and the globe.

A former stripper, Amber Rose is no stranger to slut-shaming. Rose has suffered very public negative comments from two of her former partners, Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa. And she has made many public statements sinceEarlier this year, Rose and her friend Blac Chyna attended the MTV Video Music Awards in outfits covered in offensive slurs used to denigrate women. Rose also appeared in a Funny or Dieskit entitled “Walk of No Shame,” where she reversed the so-called “walk of shame” by strutting home confidently after spending the night at a man’s house.

I believe that Rose’s message—and the overarching point that these slut walks are designed to make—is a good and vitally important one. There are no circumstances that justify sexual assault. There are no circumstances that justify the kind of venomous language that women, even women perceived to be promiscuous, are so often subjected to. If you truly believe in the dignity of the human person, then you must acknowledge that all of us deserve love and respect—regardless of our behavior or appearance.

That being said, I wish there were a different method employed to deliver the message. Yes, it gets headlines and news reports and think pieces (Verily included). I get it; you’re making a splash. But the slut walk seems to employ the same eye-catching tactic that Maxim and Sports Illustrated (along with 99 percent of the media) have been using for years. The fact is that to see a famous woman in lingerie in broad daylight while walking the streets of L.A.—or anywhere else, for that matter—is, at this point, nothing out of the ordinary. Women’s bodies are constantly on display, and our sexuality is constantly exploited, to devastating ends….

…READ MORE at VerilyMag.com.

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I wrote this article for Verily Magazine, where the full version is published.

Serious Question: Where is all the Male Nudity in the Music Industry?

Photo by Christopher Macsurak

The music industry came under heightened scrutiny last week when Nicki Minaj, despite breaking the VEVO record for most views in twenty-four hours for her “Anaconda” video, was noticeably absent from the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards nominations for Best Video of the Year. As is the custom these days, Minaj took to Twitter to voice her frustration. She set off a firestorm when she implied that her lack of nomination was a result of unfair discrimination. “If I was a different ‘kind’ of artist, ‘Anaconda’ would be nominated for best choreo and vid of the year as well,” she tweeted. “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year.”

To be completely honest, I am not qualified to comment on whether or not Minaj’s video ought to have been nominated. Until last week, I had not seen “Anaconda” (nor do I recommend it, which I’ll go into in a bit), and I do not follow pop music closely enough to say for sure whether it “made a profound impact on pop culture or defined a genre,” as I understand the winning video is supposed to have done. I can, however, appreciate the cultural conversation that her comments have sparked. She may not have gotten the nomination she desired, but Minaj was victorious in launching a wave of scrutiny that the music industry has, in my opinion, long deserved.

In response to Minaj’s claims, many news outlets rushed to her defense, unapologetically examining the history of race in pop music and backing up her claims. In no way seeking to overshadow the very serious issue of race in music, I find that the discussion has been revelatory in more ways than one. More than shedding light on existing racial disparity in the industry, the recent examination of the music industry has uncovered a notable gender disparity as well.

Consider the recent Marie Claire article by Corinne Redfern. Arguing that slim, Caucasian women are disproportionately rewarded for their artistry, Redfern writes, “To put it simply: When Britney Spears got naked and covered herself in sequins for ‘Toxic,’ she was nominated for Best Music Video. When Emily Ratajkowski got naked next to Robin Thicke in ‘Blurred Lines,’ he was nominated for Best Music Video. When Miley Cyrus stripped off and broke a million health and safety rules by riding a piece of construction equipment, she wasn’t just nominated for Best Music Video of the Year—she won it. All of the above videos have been controversial, but they were acknowledged by the industry for their impact nevertheless. But as soon as Nicki Minaj—whose black body deviates from Caucasian beauty standards—dares to own her own culture and dance in a similarly provocative fashion, it’s glossed over and relegated to sideline categories of ‘female’ and ‘hip-hop.’”

I must say that after reading Redfern’s article, I was not struck so much by the injustice of Minaj’s nudity and provocative dancing going unrewarded but rather by the absurdity of rewarding female artists for their nudity and provocative dance to begin with. Redfern seems to imply that stripping down is the established prerequisite for female recognition in music. The uncomfortable truth of the matter is that I’m not sure she’s wrong.

 Being the feminist that I am, several questions immediately came to mind. If nudity and sexual provocation are among the criteria for Best Video, why wasn’t Robin Thicke naked himself? Why isn’t sexual provocation a prerequisite for men as well?

My curiosity piqued, I decided to look into it further and watch all of the winning Best Videos of the past several years. While it’s hard to scientifically quantify sexual suggestiveness or even nudity, even a cursory glance at the winning videos over the past several years is telling.

Since 2000, MTV’s Best Video of the year has been won by a female artist nine times. Of those nine, six appear naked or in underwear at some point in their video. Over the same time period, six men (or male groups) were awarded the title, and except for a few brief shirtless appearances by Eminem and Andre 3000, they were all fully clothed.

Justin Timberlake wore a turtleneck in “Mirrors,” the young men from Panic! at the Disco wore full suits in “I Write Sins Not Tragedies,” Billie Joe Armstrong et. al., were dressed from head to toe as they ambled down the “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” and the flashiest part of Eminem’s sartorial choices was his pair of superhero tights in “Without Me.”

The picture among winning female artists was markedly different. Miley in “Wrecking Ball,” Rihanna in both “We Found Love” and “Umbrella,” Lady Gaga in “Bad Romance,” Britney in “Piece of Me,” Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mýa, and P!nk in “Lady Marmalade”—all of them stripped down in the videos that won them the title. Even Beyoncé’s unitard in “Single Ladies” was more underdressed than anything male winners wore.

Interestingly, and unsurprisingly, several of the videos among the male winners showcased skin in their videos—it’s just that they only showed scantily clad women, not men.

I have no intention to pass judgment on any of these ladies, but when one sits down and watches all these videos one after the other, a distinct pattern emerges: Winning male artists dress up and sing into the camera. Winning female artists [ahem] dress down, if you will.

I understand that there is a myriad of possible explanations for the stark contrast between male and female artistry in the music industry. One could conceivably use these figures to make the argument that the male body is unfairly censored. One could argue that there is simply more of a demand for the exposed female body than the male body. Maybe men and women are simply different, and that is manifested in their varying artistic choices.

No matter how you slice it, there is a sharp contrast between male and female musicians when it comes to how they dress and perform. And while that is not necessarily a problem in and of itself, it may be evidence of the fact that women face unfair expectations. I’ve said it before: “When nudity becomes a requirement for attention, when sex appeal becomes a prerequisite for airtime, and when one’s physical assets determine whether or not her achievements will be recognized, sexual liberation becomes sexual subjugation.” And although I can’t really say for sure, my hunch is that it is a lot harder to make it as a female artist if you’d prefer to cover up (Taylor Swift excepted).

MTV’s Video Music Awards is just one awards show and can hardly be considered a complete representation of the entire music industry. But to the extent that it sheds light on the varying expectations that female artists face, the contrast should give us pause.

Because, if we glance at the past winners of Best Video, Nicki Minaj was just playing the game that everyone else is playing. I’m just not convinced that, to get recognition for her talented music, she should have to.

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I wrote this article for Verily Magazine, where it was originally published.

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Getting Rid of Photoshop Won’t Solve Our Self-Esteem Issues

What do you remember about the year 1990? Julia Roberts made us believe in Prince Charming with the release of Pretty Woman; parachute pants were having their first (but not last) moment of popularity; and Vanilla Ice was topping the music charts. Less well-known but of great importance, however, was the release of a computer program that changed the game forever. That’s right, I’m talking about Photoshop.

Flash forward to today, when the media’s obstinate use of Photoshop is mind-blowing. In the past decade, a barrage of Photoshop scandals have occurred—discrepancies that have ranged in severity from the infamous darkening of O. J. Simpson’s complexion in Time magazine to countless instances of tacking celebrity faces onto chiseled bodies. Or we can look to more recent offenses such as Justin Bieber’s enhancement for Calvin Klein ads or Jezebel offering a hefty bounty for the non-doctored photos from Lena Dunham’s Vogue shoot. The outcry is happening, but what kind of progress is really being made?

I can’t speak for everyone, but I have yet to meet anyone who likes how Photoshop is used these days. I have never heard people say they think the extent to which fashion models, celebrities, and politicians are digitally altered is having a positive impact on society. Quite the opposite. Just last month, Valeria Lukyanova aka “The Human Barbie,” came under fire when she confessed to airbrushing her photos. Lukyanova has long admitted to using hair extensions, breast augmentation, and extensive makeup to achieve her look, but she has historically denied the use of Photoshop. The fact that she lied about undergoing the digital knife while publicly admitting to undergoing a surgical knife tells us something about Photoshop’s approval rating.

I think it’s great that Verily exists—a brand committed to not using Photoshop to alter women in its imagery—but in that way, it is somewhat of a cultural anomaly. For every publication that refuses to photo-edit its models, hundreds more already exist that are shamelessly altering their images. Clothing stores, magazines, advertisements, and more continue to shrink, buff, smooth, and even chop down their models, often with comically absurd results.

The pervasiveness of Photoshop in the media is also seriously concerning, not so much because the photographs are not real but because they are being presented as though they are. This practice distorts our perception of beauty—with measurable consequences, particularly on young women. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that how women are portrayed in the media is linked to their mental and physical health, especially in relation to body image dissatisfaction, the prevalence of which cannot be overstated. A study published earlier this year found that “87 percent of U.S. women are unhappy with at least one body part.” One in every five women has plans to pursue cosmetic procedures, and one in every three would consider it. The number one reason the surveyed women were considering such procedures? The “desire to feel more comfortable with oneself.”

Given this, it is understandable that public opposition to the use of Photoshop has morphed into a kind of digital witch huntSpeculations are made and suspects are put on trial, and then they are virtually burned at the stake via public shaming. (Anyone remember the Beyoncé–L’Oreal Photoshop debacle? Or the many times Bey has been called out for allegedly doctoring her Instagram photos?) Understandable, yes—but ultimately counterproductive.

If I thought that a woman’s self-esteem ought to correspond to where she falls on the prevailing scale of physical beauty, then I would think this “witch hunt” worthwhile. As if to say, “Let’s find out who doctors their photos, so we can know who, really, is the fairest of them all.” Sure, if my confidence has to be determined by my spot on a scale from least beautiful to most beautiful, I’d like the scale to be accurate. But it doesn’t. In my mind, that perspective gives women far too little power over their own happiness—and the media far too much.

Like so many others, I have attempted to assuage feelings of physical inadequacy with the consolation that the beauty game is rigged. But what started as a way to cope with the impossible levels of perfection I saw on magazine covers became my default method of dealing with all the beautiful women in my life. Rather than appreciating stunning pictures of friends and acquaintances, I found myself wondering whether or not they’d been airbrushed. “They don’t look like that in real life,” I have often thought to myself. “It’s the lighting, the contrast, the filter.”

These thoughts started to consume rather than console me, and that’s when I realized: More important than finding out whether people are editing their photos is the much bigger issue that we are deriving our confidence from where we fall on the scale in the first place. And obsessing over the fact that “no one really looks like that” does not solve that. In fact, it may actually be doing more harm than good.

The “no one looks like that” approach to repairing self-esteem attempts to boost confidence by acknowledging that we are not as far from the top of the beauty totem pole as a magazine cover or lingerie ad would have us believe. But encouraging young women to draw comfort from the understanding that the latestCosmo cover is retouched, regardless of whether it is true, is really just reinforcing the notion that their self-esteem ought to be dictated by how their looks stack up against everyone else’s.

In all the talk and debate about Photoshop, here’s the question no one seems to be asking: Why is beauty in others—enhanced or not—such a threat to our egos?

READ MORE….

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I wrote this article for Verily Magazine. The full article is published there.

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Sex, Violence, and Game of Thrones: Why Do We Draw the Line at Rape?

Two Sundays ago, Game of Thrones aired an episode titled “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken.” In contrast to its title, however, it concluded with a scene that, even by HBO’s standards, pushed the limits of decency. The episode ended with the newly wed Sansa Stark being raped by her new husband, Ramsay Bolton, while his tortured lackey Theon Greyjoy was forced to watch.

Unsurprisingly, the scene drew a firestorm of criticism from commenters across the political spectrums. Their reasoning varied: Some took issue with the fact that the rape diverges from the book’s plotline, but most seemed to think that it was simply gratuitous. As Joanna Robinson of Vanity Fair wrote, “Edgy plots should always accomplish something above pure titillation or shock value, and what, exactly, was accomplished here?”

I’m inclined to agree. When it comes down to it, the scene did not feel like a carefully considered moment of character or plot development but rather the exploitation of a horrific act for the sake of views and ratings. It was less like a skillful treatment of rape and more like its pornification—the goal being an adrenaline rush of excitement about this ever-so-unpredictable show.

That said, I found it curious that the reaction to this particular scene was so strong, so pointed, and so angry, while many of the same Game of Thrones’ viewers are so passively accepting, even approving, of the other gratuitously sexual and violent parts of the show.

After all, what objection can be levied against the scene in question that cannot also be levied against any number of other moments in any number of other episodes? That rape is morally reprehensible? By that logic, the entire Game of Thrones series should have never been filmed. That the scene was unnecessary? But what of the countless other unwarranted sexually explicit moments in the show? Game of Thrones constantly uses sex and nudity to arouse and enthrall its viewers. Why are some incidents of sex and violence acceptable but this particular act of violent sex is not?

READ MORE…

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I wrote this article for Verily Magazine, where it was originally published.

source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/christiaan_tonnis/

Are “Sexy” Magazine Covers Empowering for Women? This Evidence Says No.

The cover of this month’s Women’s Health magazine features actress Cobie Smulders (Robin from How I Met Your Mother) posing topless, with only her arms covering her bare chest. If you find that surprising for a magazine called Women’s Health, consider the May cover of Golf Digest: It boasts a similar topless-with-strategic-cover-up photo of athlete Lexi Thompson.

To be honest, I can’t say these covers surprise me. Nude photos of successful women make frequent appearances in the media. Women’s Health, along with CosmopolitanSports IllustratedMaxim, and a slew of other popular magazines regularly feature sexually explicit content and imagery.

Although nude images on magazine covers have lost their power to shock, they’re still a relatively recent phenomenon. The degree to which women are sexualized in magazines, in song lyrics, on television, in video games, on the Internet, in advertising, and in music videos today is unparalleled. As Dawn Hawkins, vice president of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, describes it, “Yesterday’s pornography is today’s mainstream media.” Somehow, we have gotten to a point where a topless photo of a well-respected woman on the cover of a women’s health magazine barely raises eyebrows. Whether or not this is a positive development is a subject of much debate…READ MORE

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I wrote this article for Verily Magazine, where it was originally published.

Art Credit: Christian Tonnis

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An Open Letter To The World: I’m Not Sorry For Apologizing

Dear World,

By now, I’m sure you are familiar with Pantene’s “Not Sorry” #Shinestrong ad. If you are not, the ad exhibits women unnecessarily apologizing in various circumstances (before asking a legitimate question in a meeting, before asking someone if he has a minute to talk, after someone nudges her in a waiting room, etc…) and then, in an attempt to draw attention to women’s overly-apologetic habits, confidently refusing to apologize in those very same circumstances. “Don’t be sorry,” the screen reads, and the video concludes with a woman saying “sorry, not sorry” as she pulls an entire comforter over to her side of the bed.

When I first saw the ad, I didn’t think much of it. But because, nearly a year later, I still see it shared on social media platforms, and because you seem determined to critique feminine behavior whenever it is discovered to diverge from male behavior, I felt the need to drop you a note.

It’s true, world, women tend to apologize more than men do.  But just because women apologize more often than men does not mean that women apologize too often. And even if some of us do, the tendency to apologize too often does not necessarily result from weakness, oppression, or a false sense of female inferiority.

Yes, I say “sorry” more often than my male coworkers and friends. Yes, I say it unnecessarily at times. Yes, I should learn to be more assertive. But I am not going to apologize for my apologetic habits, because they are not the product of something negative like discrimination or insecurity, but the consequence of one of my greatest gifts.

I say “sorry” a lot because I have a heightened sensitivity to my surroundings. I apologize a lot because I have an elevated awareness of how my actions affect those around me. My habit of saying sorry a little too often has developed over years of discerning pain and discomfort to which others are numb. I tend to be overly-apologetic because I have a great consciousness of life’s quieter sufferings, a consciousness that allows me to detect injury where others see none, tend to wounds others cannot perceive, soothe pain others don’t recognize. What you are quick to assume is the by-product of oppression is actually a result of an incredible feminine strength. I apologize often because I see more than you, and I like that about myself.

I am sorry that only sinister explanations are offered when it is discovered that women behave differently than men.

I am sorry that the merits of feminine social behavior are so rarely considered or recognized.

I am sorry that our consideration for others is lamented rather than applauded.

I am sorry that women are instructed to dull their sensitivity rather than encouraged to harness its remarkable power.

I am sorry that male behavior is the yardstick by which female behavior is measured.

I am sorry that any departures women take from standard male behavior are automatically viewed as marks of oppression or insecurity rather than manifestations of positive feminine qualities.

Most of all, I’m sorry that so many of the marvelous, inexplicable, beautiful, complicated idiosyncrasies of feminine behavior are bemoaned by those who claim to speak on our behalf.

I am sorry for all these things and so many more, but I’m not sorry for apologizing too often, because it is evidence of one of my very best qualities.

Sincerely,

A Woman Who Is “Always Apologizing”