Even when we are strong and independent women, we are still more sensitive than our male counterparts. Due to that, we often feel things much deeper than they do, and in turn, we may feel the weight of the world’s expectations, leading us to apologize for things we shouldn’t.
As women, we are expected to smile and be sweet, to be a child-bearer, to hold down a job, to keep a clean home, and to be everything all rolled into one. These expectations can be very jarring. And if you have never felt the weight of these expectations, you might have a hard time wrapping your mind around how difficult they can be to bear.
I cannot name how many times I have apologized for things I shouldn’t have. And if you are a woman, you likely know exactly what I mean. However, here are 10 things that every woman should stop apologizing for now.
1. Our bodily functions. (Farting, pooping, our periods.)
Women are often thought of as delicate creatures, who are supposed to hide or feel shame about expelling gas or using the bathroom. These are thought to be manly things, which when you think about it, sounds ridiculous. Why? Because we are humans. Our bodies function, just like anyone else’s. Don’t be ashamed to let out gas. Or to have a period. Or to poop. It’s just silly.
Embracing the natural functions of our bodies is crucial for self-acceptance. “The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love” by Sonya Renee Taylor offers an empowering perspective on embracing our bodies and rejecting societal norms that encourage shame.
2. Our breast size.
I have always been a big-breasted woman, and one time, I dated a guy who constantly made remarks about how they were ‘too much.’ It made me feel ashamed and embarrassed. Now, looking back, I want to go back and slap myself for feeling ashamed of my natural body. Whether you have small breasts or big breasts, don’t ever apologize for your breast size.
3. How much makeup we wear.
Ugh, another thing that just drives me up the wall, is people who make comments about another woman’s makeup. I once heard a CEO over the company I used to work for say that she didn’t trust women who didn’t wear makeup. It just so happened that during that meeting, I was not wearing makeup. I instantly felt like I was less than a woman because I didn’t have makeup on. Ladies, wearing makeup is a personal choice, not something you should or shouldn’t do. If you like makeup, don’t apologize for it. If you don’t, don’t apologize for it.
The choice to wear makeup should be a personal one. “Beauty Sick: How the Cultural Obsession with Appearance Hurts Girls and Women” by Renee Engeln delves into the impact of beauty standards and encourages women to define beauty on their own terms.
4. Saying no.
As females, I believe we are taught through society that we should people please. It isn’t something anyone ever flat-out says to us, it’s just something that is conditioned into us. However, boundaries and limits are what protect our emotional peace. So, if you don’t want to do something, or can’t, don’t apologize for saying no.
5. Not wanting to have kids.
First and foremost, not all women can have children. And others simply don’t want to. It’s rude to flat out ask an older person when they are going to finally have kids or to ask why they don’t. Mind your business.
6. Having a lot of kids.
And if you want a whole flock of kids, don’t apologize for that either. As long as you are taking care of them, and all of their needs are met, if you want to have five kids, that is your choice.
7. How many people we’ve been physical with.
It’s interesting how even now, when a man has a 15-page list of all the women he has slept with, he gets cheered on by other men. But, when a woman can count more than three, she is a sl*t, by societal standards. I’m sorry, but how many people a person has slept with, regardless of gender, does not define who they are.
8. Being a strong woman.
Women are expected to be kind and gentle. When we come off as strong-willed, we are often misconstrued to be difficult or a burden. But that is not the case. Being a strong woman is not something you should ever apologize for.
For those who resonate with being labeled as ‘difficult’ for their strength, “Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights” by Helen Lewis explores the power and courage of women who refuse to conform to societal expectations.
9. For being interested in ‘manly’ or ‘girly’ things.
First and foremost, your interests shouldn’t be labeled by gender. If you like cooking, that isn’t a girly thing, it’s a survival thing. And if you enjoy working on cars, it’s a thing you enjoy. The end. Don’t apologize for your interest.
10. For our emotions.
When a female shows a lot of emotion, she is often deemed crazy. I have had this happen to me more times than I can count. But the thing is, being emotional doesn’t make you crazy, it makes you human. Don’t apologize for showing deep emotion. Understanding and embracing our emotions is vital. “Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life” by Susan David offers strategies for dealing with emotions healthily and authentically.