Is It Too Late NOT To Say Sorry?

By Caroline Moley

During my time at Georgetown I have been fortunate enough to meet an array of strong and intelligent women. These are powerful and ambitious women who represent what is to be a “modern women;” in other words, a woman who finds gender equality a necessity. As a feminist, I feel a sense of pride when I reflect on the women and men I have met at Georgetown and the new reality we are creating for people everywhere through our determination to live in a world where gender equality is a given. At the same time, however, I see a division between men and women when it comes to self-perception and self-promotion. I wonder if men and women still view themselves differently when it comes to how they portray themselves in the world.

When I observe men talking about themselves, they can usually articulate themselves in a positive way without an ounce of doubt. When I hear women talk about themselves, I usually sense a bit of self-doubt or uneasiness that then leads to self-deprecation or “I’m sorry.” It seems logical to me that this self-doubt exists given that throughout history, women were forced to see themselves through the male lens, and at the time, that was as a submissive person. Men were the ones who structured society in a way that enabled them to dominate and obtain power more easily than women; however, things are changing.

Yes, the patriarchy still exists, and yes, we do still live in a world where men and women must continue to fight for gender equality. However, we also live in a world where women can do and have done so many things, so why are we still doubting ourselves? Are we afraid to step into a more dominant role? Or are we afraid of the judgment we will receive if we allow ourselves to exude immense confidence as so many men do?

I think the answer lies in the fact that whether we like it or not we still have a problem with a woman who is confident in herself beyond her looks. Women spend so much time promoting body confidence, which is very important, yet there is a lack of promotion when it comes to intellectual confidence. Open a magazine and most of the time the most female empowering thing you will see consists of how to dress one’s body type. Yes, women should be confident in their bodies, but least we forget we are more than our bodies; we are brains that have ideas and thoughts that allow us to lead and change the world. So why do we keep saying sorry for being confident about our intellect? I understand the fear that women have; just look at the array of female leaders whose outfits or looks overpower their policies, ideas, etc. Our initial instinct is to focus on what a woman looks like or if she can still lead on her period instead of what she is trying to accomplish within her field.

We must start by teaching women to stop saying sorry. It is time to talk ourselves up, brag a little. It is time to promote confidence of the mind as well as of the body because until we do, we leave women within a world that does not allow them to be okay with their own success.