Women have come a long way in how we’re perceived, but there’s still a very clear idea of what it is to be a woman. When we’re growing up, we’re told so many rules and ideas about how we should act and what we should want from life, and many of us end up keeping these ideas when we’re finally grown up and able to make our own choices.
And to me, women are saying sorry too much.
“Sorry” is for mistakes, not for being a human being.
Don’t say sorry for talking about your menstrual cycle. Even the word “period” can often throw people into a fit of disgust. It’s not like we’re choosing to spend our adult life with blood pouring out of us, horrible cramps, and a body that doesn’t listen. It’s part of life; it’s actually crucial to life, and it’s nothing to ever be ashamed of.
Don’t say sorry for taking a compliment and enjoying it. When someone gives me a compliment, I say, “Thank you.” Why is it when someone says something nice about us, we feel the need to downplay it. It’s like we’re embarrassed to accept praise, but we can acknowledge that we did something good or look good. Some people don’t like it. I’ve received compliments from several men before and thanked them, only to be told I’m stuck up for agreeing with them. Nope, incorrect. I’m allowed to like myself.
Don’t say sorry for loving sex or for hating it. I think sex is amazing, and I don’t feel the need to hide that so I don’t seem like a “slut”. Sometimes it feels like we’re still conditioned to be our husband’s sexual property, but that’s history now, so the lingering feelings of shame need to go away too. On the other hand, if you don’t enjoy sex, don’t have sex. Don’t apologise for being a “prude”, just do you and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Don’t say sorry for watching porn and masturbating. I still know quite a few guys who think women don’t watch porn. Well, I’m sorry to tell you we have the exact same urges as you and we do act on them. Similarly, I know a lot of women who are honestly mortified at the idea that someone would ever find out they’d watched it. You don’t have to feel like that, and your sexual needs are just as valid as anyone else’s.
Don’t say sorry for the amount of makeup you wear. I’m quite a fan of heavy eyeliner and glitter, and due to that I’ve been told many times that I look fake. Well, obviously my eyelids aren’t actually bright silver, so yes, it’s fake. But I wear makeup because I enjoy wearing it, not to be accepted by anybody else. But sometimes I just don’t bother putting it on, only to be told I look better with it. Maybe if we stopped caring about the opinions of strangers, we’d like our appearances a little more.
Don’t say sorry for liking typically feminine and masculine things. We all know there’s a lot of things that are usually linked to being only for men or women. Women get laughed at for enjoying romance films and flowers, but also get called a poser for liking beer and football. I like a lot of things, and I don’t care if they’re supposed to be for men or women. I like rosé wine, but I also like whisky. I like pretty dresses, but I like suits as well. Don’t let someone make you feel basic for liking the things girls are typically shown to like.
Don’t say sorry for having bodily functions. In case you didn’t know, girls fart. We have the same basic functions as men, but for some reason there’s a great deal of shame around it. I get that it’s not always a pleasant conversation, but why is it more acceptable for men to fart around people than women? Don’t take that. You’re human—things happen.
Don’t say sorry for not wanting children. If you want children, that’s amazing and I hope you enjoy being a mother. But if you don’t, that’s okay too. And you don’t need a reason either. When I say I don’t want children, I’m expected to justify that decision, as if a woman not having a child is everyone’s business. It’s not. No uterus, no opinion, I’m afraid. I don’t care if my future husband wants one, I don’t care if my dad wants grandchildren, I don’t care if you think I won’t be happy until I do, it’s my business and I will never apologize for my own choices.
Now, I’m not saying we should never apologize, because sometimes it’s needed. But saying it so often for no reason makes it lose its meaning. Would you ever make a man say sorry for watching porn? Or for not doing his hair? Of course you wouldn’t.
So let’s’ try and be unapologetically ourselves, and soon, everyone else will just have to deal with that.