Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth
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Sex. Celebrity. Politics. With Teeth

Here's How to Apologize For Being Inadvertently Sexist

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Reuters Financial Blogger Felix Salmon wrote "something stupid" on Friday. We know this because he says so himself in a thoughtful apology letter today that is an excellent how-to for people whose idea of a heartfelt apology is "sorry I'm not sorry."

Quick backstory: Salmon went on a bizarre tangent about gender politics while writing about Maria Popova and "blogonomics":

The consistently positive and upbeat tone to Popova's blog might generate healthy Amazon income as a side-effect, but it's also genuine: she's one of those bloggers - Gina Trapani is another very successful example - who have no time for snark and who naturally look for things to celebrate rather than things to tear down...

To a certain extent, this is a female thing: positive happy bloggers tend to be female, as do their readers. And when someone like Anne-Marie Slaughter supports Maria Popova to the tune of $300 per year, there's definitely an element there of supporting the sisterhood. Which is a good thing!

But to many male observers, there's something a bit off there.

Uh, what? Breaking News: Men Are Skeptical of Silly Happy Ladies! Salmon felt defensive when he was first attacked for his thoughts on "male observers" and "positive happy" ladybloggers. But, in his apology, he explains how and why he realized he was in the wrong: because his language was "needlessly provocative," but most of all because he finally realized that "there's a societal pressure on women to be pleasant, and the many wonderful snarky female bloggers out there generally face much nastier and much more personal pushback than do those of us who are men."


Most satisfyingly, he apologized profusely:

"I wrote something stupid on Friday."
"But on reflection, including that passage was pretty obviously stupid."
"I was wrong on the substance of what I said, as well"
"Not that I had any advisers telling me this was a good idea: it was entirely my own mistake"
"Apologies to everyone who was offended" (NOT "sorry if you were offended," the lamest and most common non-apology apology.)

Internet: please follow suit.



Image via Rob Byron/Shutterstock.