Tag Archives: gender

Gender and apology

9 Dec

In my last post, I described my “Arguing in My Cornfield” dream of November 20 as having clearly been inspired by my focus on the Dutch history of the New York City region. On November 21, I also came to think of one aspect of that dream as precognitive of a short item on Netscape News—an item that in turn helped articulate a feeling I had in the dream.

In recording the dream, I had written this:

[I only gradually became aware of this after waking:] I’m a man—early middle age, paunchy, round-faced, with strawberry blond hair. I’m wearing brown pants and a rough, long-sleeved, pale orange shirt with slightly billowy sleeves; the cuffs are buttoned. The period [now that I think about it] seems colonial. (Feeling: I feel a sense of entitlement and proprietorship—not to riches, but as being male. Someone who feels no need to justify myself. I’m also very cranky.)

I had found it difficult to describe that feeling, and I wasn’t satisfied that I had captured it accurately in words. (And a few days later, I had a similar dream.) But when I read the article on Netscape, I thought, “That’s it!” The story was titled “Why Women Apologize So Much,” betraying a bit of bias; it could just as easily have been titled “Why Men Don’t (Know Enough to) Apologize More Often.”

The article (quoting LiveScience.com as its source) says that women and men actually apologize in the same percentage of the situations they think an apology is called for. The difference is that men view a lot fewer of their actions as needing an apology.

(The LiveScience source article was published on September 27. The studies were done by Karina Schumann, a doctoral student in social psychology at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.)