Do you have the 'sorry' reflex? Barbie — yes, that Barbie — has some advice.

Did you know Barbie has a vlog? Until today, I didn't.

Since June 2015, the Mattel collectable icon has posted a bi-weekly blog to her (I'm not quite sure what pronouns to use for the video version of a doll, so I'll just go with "she" and "her" for the sake of simplicity) YouTube page. In the 60 episodes since, she's discussed meditation, how to deal with bullies, what to do when "jokes" go too far, empowerment, sadness, and being assertive.

I. Had. No. Idea. This. Existed.


Seriously, you should check out a few of those episodes; they're great.

"Thank you for watching my vlog." All GIFs from Barbie/Facebook.

The latest video is one that a lot of us, kids and adults, can probably relate to: the "sorry reflex."

Do you find yourself apologizing when you didn't do anything wrong? If somebody bumps into you, do you ever find yourself reflexively responding, "Sorry?" Or have you ever apologized for a normal reaction to something that made you happy, sad, or excited? That's what Barbie talks about in this video.

"'Sorry' is a learned reflex, and every time we do it, we take away from our self-confidence!"

Does it seem like girls and women apologize more than boys and men? On average, they do.

A small but widely shared 2010 study published in Psychological Science found that women had a tendency to say "sorry" more often than men. It's not that women do more that require an apology; they simply have a different threshold for what they think warrants one. The study, backed up by a 2015 YouGov study and others, didn't find any sort of genetic explanation for this difference. Instead, the theory states, this has to do with socialization and a world that undermines female ambition.

Many of society's signals are subtle and likely unintentional, but they build up over time. Kids are pretty perceptive about these things. Take for example the story of 12-year-old Julianne Speyer, who wrote a letter to her local paper's editor pointing out that the announcer at her town's Fourth of July parade "labeled the Boy Scouts as 'future leaders of America,' and he said the Girls Scouts were 'just having fun.'" Over time, these statements become internalized, leading girls to feel subconsciously guilty about dreaming big and resulting in the "sorry" reflex.

"I think there's a bigger issue around 'sorry.' Especially with girls. We say it a lot."

There are a few things — and this is good advice for children and adults — you can do to help break the "sorry" reflex.

Barbie offers viewers a challenge: For one day, anytime you'd normally say "sorry," try saying "thank you," instead. For example, if you're feeling sad and would have normally said "Sorry, I'm feeling a bit down in the dumps today," try saying "Thank you for understanding that I feel a bit blue today."

Dr. Rachel Busman, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, urges parents and children to be mindful of starting sentences with apologies ("Sorry, but...") or using language that hedges on your own confidence ("This is probably a dumb question, but..." "I could be wrong, but..." "Excuse me, but..." and so on) because those instinctive responses can quickly become habits.

This isn't to say that people shouldn't ever apologize. We all make mistakes or do things that we should apologize for. The goal is to save our "sorrys" for those moments.

Watch Barbie's "'Sorry' Reflex" vlog below.

Sorry Reflex | Barbie Vlog | Episode 60

Do you and your little ones say “sorry” as a reflex, without even thinking about it? Many people do! #Barbie challenges you to change the dynamic and say “thank you” instead of apologizing. Are you up for the challenge? 💖

Posted by Barbie on Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Family

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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