Sit like a lady

This post was edited on 10/19/22 by Hearme22

No thank you.

  • “Cross your legs”
  • “Sit up straight”
  • “Close your legs”
  • “Don’t take up space”
  • “Sit like a lady

I am sure most of women have heard these terms numerous times. I asked important women in my life- my friends, mother, grandmothers, and cousins and they all admitted to being something like this throughout their life. Whether it was as a child or now, everyone seemed to have a similar experience. These phrases are sexist and degrading to women. Back in elementary school, I had a lot of friends who were boys in my class.

I specifically remember a time in elementary school when I was wearing a skirt to school one day. I was told to cross my legs when sitting down for a reading time. I looked around wondering why none of my friends got in trouble who were sitting the same way I was. Growing up with two brothers, I always did everything like them because I wanted to be just like them. Copying how they act, sit, and talk just to be scolded and taught that it was not allowed by my teacher. When I got told how to sit I was baffled. I stopped wearing dresses and skirts to school because I was embarrassed. Young women should not be humiliated for doing the same as their male counterparts.

When you are raised on these beliefs, it’s pretty easy to believe them. These gender expectations are damaging to young women because we are told to be polite quiet and ladylike while young men are allowed to be loud, messy, and crazy. It does not take a genius to realize this is unfair and sexist. The term sitting like a lady has negative conantation that we have to conform to a creation way in society to be accepted. Therefore we need to present ourselves a certain way to be accepted in society.

Photo by Jill Wellington on

The definition of manspreading is the act or practice by a man of sitting with the legs spread wide apart. I think we can all admit that “manspreading” is incredibly comfortable but even now, years after being told to sit like a day, I am self conscious spreading my legs. As a result of what I was taught growing up, whenever I am in a public setting I always find myself subconsciously sitting with my legs crossed-sitting pretty.

In class this week, I paid attention to my fellow students and notices how comfortable the boys looked- lounging back, legs spread, not a care in the world. The girls, by contrast, were sitting upright, legs crossed or tightly together. I find it disheartening that there is a stereotype about how you are supposed to sit. Like what???? How are we listening to people tell us what the correct way to sit is?

According to Women’s Health Magazine, sitting with your legs crossed can actually cause health issues. Obviously, it won’t kill you, but it can affect your posture negatively, leading to other health issues. So to that, we say #SLAM (sit like a man)

The term ladylike goes much deeper than just sitting correctly. Some traits of being ladylike are quiet, delicate, looking pretty, and being put together. If those are examples of being ladylike, then I am the furthest. I am loud and messy, I never wear makeup, and definitely don’t look put together and that is okay. I am confident in who I am as a woman and I know if someone told me to cross my legs now, I would get even more comfortable, regardless how I was perceived. I wish I could go back to my first-grade self and tell her to go back to school with a dress on the next day and sit. how. ever. you. want.

One thought on “Sit like a lady

  1. cannot even count the number of times I have had to stand on the bus because a man is sitting with his legs wide enough to take up two seats. Manspreading should be outlawed on public transportation.


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