Her observation that women — meaning her fellow [Orange Prize] nominees — are generally “uncomfortable with naked ambition, trained to have low expectations, embarrassed by head-to-head competition, and virtually obliged to act abashed when they win,” was seen as embarrassingly direct.If it was Mr. Lionel, instead of Ms., you can bet that Shriver would be hailed as "confident" instead of arrogant.
...Ms. Shriver made no excuses then and makes none now. “I’m as capable as anyone of manipulative self-deprecation,” she said recently, speaking in her apartment in South London. “It’s obviously a ploy, but I don’t think it’s an obligation. I do think I have the reputation increasingly as someone who is insufferably arrogant. I don’t want to be.”
“...a lot of it has to do with the fact that I’m an American. Perhaps, owing to my nationality, I tend to be more forthright and less apologetic. For Pete’s sake, I have been utterly obscure for most of my life. I’m supposed to apologize now? No.”Hooray! Though I shudder to think that English women are even more apologetic than Americans.
(On the other hand, the Brits are masters of aggressive apology: Think of John Cleese as Basil Fawlty, simultaneously cringeing and sneering over his despised guests in "Fawlty Towers." I used to channel him when dealing with obnoxious customers in my waitressing days.)