My mother used to call me a "sorry doll." It's kind of funny to think about it now because it is out of context and makes no sense. But in the olden times, there were a lot of talking dolls, or dolls that you squeezed and they would make a sound or cry, like "Mama!" According to my mother, if you squeezed me, I would apologize.
Apologizing too frequently is a sign of terrible insecurity but it is also the result of a high level of sensitivity and an awareness of other people's tendency to be unforgiving.
As women, we have historically apologized ourselves into the ground; wondering why we didn't have Barbie's proportions (physically impossible) or the hair of a supermodel (most of us do not awaken to a staff of beauticians) or perfect homemaking skills, or the best of this or that, or the highest level of professionalism, or a double major in Chinese and Law; the list goes on and on.
While this has changed dramatically in the last 50 years, there is such a cultural obsession with the word "bitch" (pardon my language) that women often now, in order to avoid being labeled as such, will apologize for their own power by prefacing directives with such phrases as: "I don't mean to be a bitch, but could you please have that to me by Friday?" or, "I know this is going to sound really bitchy, but the last time you borrowed my car you gave it back to me with no gas."
Why? If you notice the way that men talk with each other, they have absolutely no problem whatsoever giving each other orders, bossing each other about, ribbing each other and then laughing about it. If a man tells another man to finish a report by Friday, chances are the man on the receiving end of the directive is not going to tell his friends about what a "bitch" his boss is.
Why do women constantly need to apologize and even if they're in a position of power must they apologize for that power?
In unlearning the sexist lie of our cultural brainwashing, we have to move beyond the stereotypes of a bossy, mean, selfish, bitchy woman who is of course all that and more if she is not at the beck and call of a man. But this has to start with women.