Sorry, but we shouldn't be sorry

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By Emma Goodwin

It’s no secret that I love Mindy Kaling. I mention her in my Twitter bio, I’m obsessed with her show — and make all my friends watch it — I watch all of her television interviews and I read her first book in a matter of hours.

Not only is she my celebrity idol, but she’s a huge role model for me — I connect with some of the things she says on a super-personal level. And that’s why I’ve been anxiously awaiting the publication of her new book “Why Not Me?” which comes out tomorrow.

I cannot wait to read all of the nuggets of wisdom and gain all of the confidence. Mindy has become a role model for the way females should live their lives and it’s time we started listening to her.

In June 2014, MK sent out a tweet to me — and the rest of her followers) that said “‘Why the f— not me?’ should be your motto”

And she’s so right. We live in a world where, as Lena Dunham has pointed out, females are trained to ignore compliments and abandon their senses of pride. “Girls are taught from the age of seven that if you get a compliment, you don’t go, ‘Thank you,’ you go, ‘No, you’re insane.’”

We females find themselves in a place of accomplishment, it feels rare that we say something like “I did a great job with this and I can see exactly why I got this position.” More often, it seems we say “Wow, I can’t believe I did this.”

Where has the confidence gone, or was it ever there? It’s not a little ridiculous or kind of upsetting — it’s extremely saddening and disheartening.

As a generation of females almost ready to enter the workforce, it’s time we take these phrases and expand them. These shouldn’t be quotes we read once and get a spark of inspiration from, these should be quotes we refer back to all the time.

We hear campaigns about body confidence and loving ourselves, but where are the campaigns of the same ferocity that talk about our budding professionalism and teach us to dominate in the workforce?

Beyoncé, Jane Lynch, Condoleezza Rice and tons of other celebrities worked together in March of 2014 to start a campaign to ban the word “bossy.”

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Girls are, from a young age, driven away from leadership positions and are told not to be “bossy,” which translates into the way we conduct ourselves later. In our mind is still the thought that females can’t afford to be bossy; we have to be mediators and solvers of problems. But it is these thoughts that can ruin our resolve.

“You cannot, when pitching an idea, precede it with ‘Well this is probably a bad idea but…’ I’ve never heard a man say … those things to me in a meeting,” says Cindi Leive, editor in chief of Glamour magazine.

I say those things all the time. I say those things when I voice an idea in a group project, when I try to start something new at work; “Maybe,” “I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this yet,” and “We don’t have to do this,” seem to be staples in the world of female-professionalism-jargon.

A study conducted by the Association for Psychological Science found that women even say sorry more than men do. “Men apologize less frequently than women because they have a higher threshold for what constitutes offensive behavior.”

There are movements aiming to combat this downtrodden language and we need to do a better job of making sure they stick around. For example, Pantene’s #ShineStrong advertisements that pushed females to stop apologizing, or Amy Schumer’s “I’m sorry” sketch highlights just how ridiculous constantly undermining ourselves is.

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We embed these negative words and phrases into our vocabulary until saying them becomes as habitual as biting our nails or playing with our hair.

The only thing we should be sorry for is the fact that these movements haven’t stuck. We should be sorry for the fact that we are still saying sorry, we are still undercutting our opinions with harshly demeaning phrases, we are belittling ourselves.

In the midst of a widespread feminist surge, women are gaining equality, but still striving to prove ourselves every day. We can no longer afford to be our own enemies; we need to change the way we talk about ourselves. We have to change our pitch.

So, yes, Mindy Kaling was right when she said our mottos should be “Why the f– not me?” We should be saying it with a deserved zeal and enthusiasm, and none of the sadness and underachievement that “Why me?” has grown to contain. We should accept compliments like Lena Dunham and pitch ideas like Cindi Leive — and we shouldn’t be sorry for our every day behaviors and actions.

Our every day behaviors and actions are rightfully changing the world, and that’s nothing to be sorry about. As female students, we can prepare ourselves now for how to operate in the workforce, and changing the way we talk about ourselves is step number one.

Emma is a junior in LAS.
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