Email has become easily one of our most common forms of communication, but it's also one that can be consistently fraught with tension, ambiguity, and miscommunication. Most of us have sat stewing over an email from a significant other, thinking, "What did he mean by that?" or one from the boss, wondering, "Is she angry with me or happy with me?"
In an essay about "gaslighting," which is the apparent habit men have of accusing women of being "overly sensitive," "paranoid," or "crazy," when they're not, the writer mentions how women negate their feelings in email exchanges. It really struck a familiar chord with me, though not for the reasons the essay goes into.
The author, Yashir Ali, wrote:
No wonder some women are unconsciously passive aggressive when expressing anger, sadness, or frustration. For years, they have been subjected to so much gaslighting that they can no longer express themselves in a way that feels authentic to them. They say, "I'm sorry," before giving their opinion. In an email or text message, they place a smiley face next to a serious question or concern, thereby reducing the impact of having to express their true feelings. You know how it looks: "You're late :)"