Pantene continues in their quest for female empowerment through commercials that shill a whole lot more than just hair products. The latest arrives in the form of an advertisement titled, “Not Sorry,” a series of quick vignettes featuring women in the office, in the waiting room, and even in their own home, apologizing for — to be perfectly honest — no good reason.
“Why are women always apologizing?” the video asks.
A woman interrupts her male colleague while he’s speaking. “Sorry, can I ask a stupid question?” she says. A two-fold of poor word choices. “Sorry, you go first,” says a young woman as she and her male friend begin to speak at the same time. A man sits at the end of the conference table during a meeting, and like a chain reaction, “Sorry,” “sorry,” “sorry.”
What are you sorry for?? He was obviously late!!
“Sorry you can’t show up to a meeting on time, BOB,” seems like a more appropriate response to me.
But no, Pantene has some better suggestions.
The second half of the advert focuses on the women re-phrasing their conversations.
“I have a question,” says the first woman. (Note: Not a stupid question.) “Why don’t we go back to the original thing we did?”
Another woman replaces, “Sorry,” with “Morning,” when she opens a closed door. The waiting room encounter is downsized to a simple shrug and smile. A series of domestic incidents are altered with the catchphrase, “Sorry, not sorry,” which to me, doesn’t make too much sense, because you’re still saying sorry, but I digress.
No word on what happened to the domino effect of women in the meeting — but I’d like to think they didn’t apologize to their late male colleague for their own ability to arrive on time.
The advertisement, a brain child of the folks at Grey, is a follow-up to the “Labels Against Women” campaign that ran in the Philippines a few months back, but made waves here via YouTube. It coincides with Pantene’s #ShineStrong social campaign, encouraging women to stand up for themselves through simple, empowering messages that beauty-shaming Dove can’t really lay a finger on.
However, it isn’t entirely perfect. It sets a fairly obvious agenda by putting a strong emphasis on women apologizing to men. There are cases when the apology recipient isn’t pictured, but there is no specific vignette between two women, when someone is unnecessarily saying “sorry” to the other — because believe me, it happens.
But it makes a strong statement: How often do we say “sorry” out of habit? As a precursor? As a way to lighten a conversation we’re not entirely confident about?
Yahoo! Shine pointed out a study published by Psychological Science where researchers said apologizing is a verbal tick found predominately in females. Researchers noted that men were not less likely to say ‘sorry,’ because they were fearful of appearing weak, but because they just believed they did fewer things wrong. The study found that while men and women were equally likely to apologize when they believed they were in the wrong, female participants just considered themselves in the red more often than the opposite sex.
So, it’s not that we’re actually sorry, but it’s that we think we’re consistently doing things we should be apologizing for. And that’s an even bigger problem.
h/t Washington PostRachel Raczka can be reached at email@example.com. Tweet her @rachelraczka.