Catherine Zeta Jones has banned this one word from her vocabulary – with wonderful results.
Elton John may think that sorry seems to be the hardest word, but the same can’t be said of womankind: indeed, a recent YouGov survey has found that women apologise far more than men.
In a poll of almost 1,600 men and women, almost half of the women surveyed (44%) felt that women did apologise too frequently with only 11% saying women apologised “too little”. The results supported a 2010 study in the US journal Psychological Science that posited “women have a lower threshold for what constitutes offensive behaviour” and therefore are more likely to say sorry.
And Catherine Zeta Jones, for one, is sick of this culture of over-apologising.
Explaining that she’s sick of saying sorry for her success, the Academy Award winner told the Daily Mirror: “One thing I’m not is humble any more. I’m sick of being humble. I really am. ‘So sorry I’m rich, so sorry I’m married to a movie star, so sorry I’m not so bad looking.’
“No sorrys. Enough. All that is important to me now is my work.”
Zeta Jones added: “That’s what I love and the rest of my life is a joy because I’ve got two beautiful kids and a healthy, happy husband. It’s all good, and I’m not going to be humble for that either.”
Zeta Jones isn’t the only woman who’s sick of apologising: in 2014, Amy Schumer tackled the issue via her hilarious – albeit disquieting – I’m Sorry sketch.
In the skit, Schumer plays a scientist – a scientist so brilliant that she has been invited to the exclusive Females in Innovation conference, along with several of her peers. Unfortunately, the moderator of the conference (a man, obviously) consistently mispronounces the panel women’s names and career fields. Each time this happens, the women on the panel weakly apologise into the microphone for his mistakes. They apologise for clearing their throats when going to speak. They apologise for being allergic to caffeine. They even apologise when, after being scalded with boiling hot coffee, they die in a writhing, flailing bundle of limbs.
“It’s all my fault,” one whispers as she expires.
It’s a point well made. Because, while there are plenty of times when it’s appropriate to apologise, we need to stop using “sorry” as a means of maintaining social harmony.
Above all else, though, we should make a concerted effort to stop ourselves from apologising for our success, our opinions, our voices. Instead, let’s own our awesomeness and celebrate our success – because now is the time to change the conversation and rewrite the vocabulary we use to empower women.