Thursday, October 13, 2005


It really bothers me when people, especially women, apologize for no reason. For example, yesterday I was at the gym and I sat down on a bench to take off my sneakers, and the woman next to me said. “oh, I’m sorry.” I looked at her and said, “for what?” and she said, “for taking up so much room.” She wasn’t; only the amount of room that her rearend covered, which was average-sized.

I started noticing a few years ago how often women do this, and it pisses me off.

My standard answer has become, “for what? Don’t apologize!” Maybe I can change the world, one woman at a time. But I doubt it.

Women apologize for taking up space. Even the way they – we – sit is apologetic, arms & legs folded to as small a shape as possible. I notice that men, when they sit, sit with their legs apart & take up as much space as possible. Without apology.

When women are in front of you in the grocery store line and need to put all their groceries on the belt to get rung up: “I’m sorry—I have so many things.” It’s a grocery store! I expect you to be buying food! And lots of it, because grocery shopping stinks, and you should get it over with!

If you step on my foot, run into my Achilles tendon with your cart, ding my car with your SUV, then you should apologize. Don’t apologize for being in line in front of me, getting to the door just before me, or breathing the nearby air. Really, it’s OK; you have a right to be there.

It bothers me when women act weak. Although ... some women over-compensate for the implied vulnerability of our gender by being overly abrasive or tough. But that’s a topic for a different day.

For today, let’s focus on feeling OK about the fact that we live on this planet and to do so, we sometimes need a little bit of room.

(This piece was originally posted at 11.5)


Creatrix (aka Jennifer) said...

I remember being this way when i was younger...apologizing for breathing, living and being a burden on the world...and wanting to be invisible. I apologized for others too. Accepting the blame, asking for the's what so many of us women are trained to do. It's a powerful method of self-abuse, believing that you are not worthy of life, and it takes courage to reclaim your birthright. The greatest part is learning that you are helping break the cycle for us all.

thank you for reminding me that self-empowerment also reveals the ability to empower my sisters.

dawn said...

I will proudly occupy my space.

I find this to be an interesting theme in parenting, as well. Parents apologizing for their kids to other parents, without involving the kid.

If there were truly a situation in which an apology was needed, then shouldn't the kid actually be involved? It's a strange habit.

Unsane said...

I've been finding that often when I make a joke -- one which isn't immediately understood, due to the distancing mechanism of Internet communication -- I am accused of being "hurtful".

My view is that this perception on the parts of certain others is in directe correlation to their expectations, namely that women should always be overtly sensitive and overtly kind.

TS-S said...

I coach girls in soccer. I constantly remind them not to apologize while on the field and they bump someone. I tell them it is part of the game. I reassure the girls that if there is a reason for an apology they will have time to later. As I said, I still have to remind them.
If you watch boys, you will see that they never do apologize.

captain_howdy_girl said...

I guess I'm evil because I love those people who apologize all the time. I like to see how many times I can get them to do it. If you look at them and sigh or say ahhhh... occasionally they will blurt out "sorry" and not know why.

olivia said...

Hahaha veggie! You truly are an Aquarius.

MaggyW said...

I'm sorry, I never apologise...

That's one of my favourite lines. I also learnt from a wonderful book called something like 'How to be the perfect bitch' to say 'I don't think so' instead of 'Sorry, I can't...etc.'

Of course I lent the wonderful book to someone who never gave it back and I can't remember who it was.


Anyway, I found you guys through searching for Montana.

We tried to emigrate to Bozeman in 1998 but the US embassy in its wisdom decided that Bozeman couldn't support us - and promptly made that true!

Still, after five years it's time to love Montana again and to remember the Fall evenings riding quarter horses, the kindness of the people, Bridger Mountains, Gallatin Valley...

I'm an author and I'm going to start my Montana book in the next few months. I'm trying some of it out on my own blog so please come and have a look and comment. But don't feel you have to apologise if you don't want to!