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Could Manspreading Be Good for Women?

This Orthopedic Surgeon Is Making the Case For Women to Sit More Like Men

There are plenty of examples of women being told to do things more like men in order to succeed in a male-dominated world — just consider the number of times you've heard women be told to be more confident, be less shrill, or apologize less. Why is it we never hear folks telling men that they should apologize more or perhaps be less confident?


It's normally women who are expected to change their behaviors to better align with the male default and status quo. So when I read the headline "Why Women Should Sit Like Men," in the Washington Post earlier this week, my initial reaction was to roll my eyes. Surely this would be the latest of several examples of well-intentioned authors telling women that if they'd just assert themselves a bit more, all their problems would be solved (with no mention of the societal norms that make it so hard for women to assert themselves in the first place).

Once I finally clicked the article and read the piece itself, I realized that my initial assumptions were wrong. The case for women sitting like men isn't about power poses — it's about joint health.

As the article explains:

  • Barbara Bergin, an orthopedic surgeon, started S.L.A.M (Sit Like a Man) after she started experiencing hip pain and realized her seated stance might be to blame
  • "Sit Like a Man is a call to action for women to change their sitting behavior to prevent pain."

As Bergin explains on her website, "Sitting with knees and legs together and/or ankles and legs crossed is a modern learned behavior... In the early 1900s, when skirt lengths crept up above the ankle it was considered more lady-like to have the ankles crossed. As skirt lengths rose, the practice turned into leg crossing."

So why does this learned behavior pose a threat to women's health? "Sitting with the legs on the floor and slightly apart," Bergin says, "takes the tension off of the iliotibial band, the longest tendon in the body, and the greater trochanter, the tendon that stretches across the big bone at the side of the hip." Sitting cross legged puts more tension on these tendons, which can contribute to hip and kneecap pain later in life.

And to be clear, Bergin's not actually advocating that women start "manspreading," just that women place their feet flat on the floor, with their legs at 11 and 1 in order to reduce tension.

So what do you think?

  • How do you like to sit? If you tend to cross your legs, will you give sitting "like a man" a try?
  • Are there other potentially harmful gendered social norms/learned behaviors that you think we should do away with? (High heels, anyone?)
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10 Women in Tech Share Their Tips for Working From Home

How to stay productive and positive while working remotely

With the outbreak of COVID-19, scores of people are finding themselves working remotely for the first time. Trying to stay productive while at home with so many distractions can be overwhelming, so we asked women tech leaders what they were doing to work from home successfully. Along with getting a great pair of noise canceling headphones (game changer!), they have 10 excellent tips to help you thrive in a work-from-home environment.

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5 Life-Changing Products You Didn't Know Were Invented by Women

I've been thinking about women's ingenuity a lot recently; after all, crises like the one we're facing now fuel innovation. They especially fuel innovation from those who are on the frontlines, in desperate need of solutions.

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She’s Paving the Way for Women in Cybersecurity: How She Went from First-Generation College Student to IT Leader

A Conversation with Freddie Mac's Stephanie Johnson

When Stephanie Johnson, currently an Information Security Manager at Freddie Mac, was just starting her career as an IT professional, she found herself sitting in her car one night after work asking herself, "Why am I not being heard? Should I adjust my tone? Posture? What I'm saying?"

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9 Positive Things to Come Out of the Coronavirus: COVID-19’s Silver Linings

For when you can't read one more bad-news story.

I would never argue that the novel coronavirus is a good thing. COVID-19 has or will cause many deaths, a long-lasting global economic slowdown, and rampant general stress and anxiety.

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Webinars

Parents' Panel: Supporting Your Fellow Parents' Transition to Remote Work

As schools across the nation close, and the majority of businesses mandate remote work, working parents are now faced with the ultimate challenge - how to balance their families and jobs under one roof while COVID-19 still remains a concern.

PowerToFly is bringing thought-leading professionals (and working moms!) to speak about balancing our new realities and how to best optimize your time at home. In this panel, we'll discuss maneuvering the difficulties of working from home from taking conference calls to juggle homeschooling/ childcare.

Don't feel the pressure, your children, partner and pets are welcome to join this virtual chat!

Join us for this live Q&A to learn new tips, strategies, and hear personal anecdotes from our panelists that have shaped these women into the incredible founders and mothers they are today. You will have the opportunity to ask questions during our free, virtual conversation and have the chance to snag a giveaway sponsored by PowerToFly and our panelists!



Meet the Panelists:

Christine Michel Carter, Creator of Mompreneur and Me

Featured in The New York Times and The Washington Post, Christine Michel Carter is the #1 global voice for working moms. Christine clarifies misconceptions about working mom consumers for brands and serves as an amplifier of their personal truths.

Mary Beth Ferrante, Co-Founder & CEO of WRK/360

Mary Beth Ferrante is a mom of two and advocate for creating inclusive workplaces for parents. She is the Co-Founder & CEO of WRK/360, a career development platform designed for working parents and managers to help companies support, retain and recruit working parents. In addition, she is a senior contributor for Forbes and her work has been featured in Today, Thrive Global, Working Mother, FairyGodBoss, ScaryMommy, and other leading publishers.

Amy Henderson, Founding CEO of TendLab

Amy Henderson is the founding CEO of TendLab, a consultancy addressing the challenges and opportunities parenthood brings into the workplace. TendLab's research-based approach reveals how parenthood can unlock career-critical skills--such as resiliency, courage, and the ability to collaborate--skills which are especially important during this COVID-19 pandemic.

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