Lena Dunham has penned an impassioned essay for LinkedIn urging women to stop saying sorry.
"Beyoncé's Lemonade was a massive cultural event for a lot of profound reasons, not least of which because it gave women a melody to which they could sing the words 'Sorry, I ain't sorry,' again and again (and again)," she writes.
"This refrain immediately became the stuff of Instagram captions and yearbook quotes and screaming, drunken bachelorette parties: partially because it's catchy as f---, but also because it allowed women to express (safely, while pretending with all their might to be Bey) just how sick to death they were of apologising."
The 30-year-old actress, writer and director, who herself became “a boss” at the age of 24, says that her “hardwired instinct to apologise” became heightened at this time.
"If I changed my mind, if someone disagreed with me, even if someone else misheard me or made a mistake... I was so, so sorry," she says.
"Apologising is a modern plague and I'd be willing to bet (though I have zero scientific research to back this up) that many women utter 'I'm sorry' more on a given day than 'Thank You' and 'You're Welcome' combined. So many of the women I know apologise like it's a job they were given by the government."
"Saying sorry serves as a sort of cork, making sure my emotions are contained and packaged neatly. Sorry is the wrapping paper AND the bow," she wrote. "I say sorry all day, which doesn't make sense considering I'm not a warlord, a drunk driver or a pizza delivery guy speeding down 6th Avenue on a fixed gear bike scaring the shit out of pedestrians. I am a woman who is sometimes right, sometimes wrong but somehow always sorry."
Inspired by her father, who suggested she try and spend a week not apologising, Dunham says it’s still a work in progress, but when you stop saying sorry, and start expressing what you actually want or need, everyone benefits.
"I won't say my father's experiment cured me," she continued. "After all, I've been apologising profusely since 1989—like pigs in blankets and reading celebrity gossip, it's not a habit easily broken. But it illustrated a better way. Something to strive for. When I replaced apologies with more fully formed and honest sentiments, a world of communication possibilities opened up to me. I'm just sorry it took me so long."
However Lena is quick to acknowledge the power and importance of the word in the right situations.
"Mind you, I am not negating the power of a real apology, especially in the workplace," she went on. "One of the most important things a person in charge can do is own their mistakes and apologise sincerely and specifically, in a way that shows their colleagues they have learned and they will do better (I'll try, OK!?)."