The following is a comment I made on LinkedIn as a reader and respondent to a page titled Connect: Professional Women’s Network, Powered by Citi
As a recently post-operative transgender woman and who feels as much a woman as any, I noticed this phenomenon whenever I asked for the pardon of a woman that I needed to pass, such as in the isle of a grocery store. I can’t recall if I ever heard this from a man. Sometimes it was a simple “Uh Huh” and at other times could be more profuse. I have thought about this in the context of the topic “SORRY: Do Women Apologize Too Much” and I thought I would offer my own observation.
Rather than to view this trait among women as being overly apologetic, I have viewed it as an example of the empathy I feel from all women who I view as my sisters. To me, it was a validation of how I believe women versus men feel a bond between each other that contradicts the notion that women can be catty to other women whenever we may feel jealous of the attention or success of another that any woman can feel from time to time.
This is often expressed by some of us who gossip among ourselves using the comment “She must have slept her way to the top.” Men say this too, perhaps even more so, but I believe it is our responsibility as women to drop the act that we are less than a man by virtue of being regarded as an object of men’s so-called unbridled lust.
One more thing. We extend this habit of apologizing to men, in the work-a-day world and in social situations but I ask “Can this not be that we as women are able to be more empathetic toward other people because we seem to be often more able to accept and feel the vulnerability that all people feel, regardless of their gender or perceived gender?”
Deanna Joy Hallmark