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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?)
Career Advice

From Chemical Engineer to Coding Bootcamp Grad to Software Engineer

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Two things are inevitable when someone leaves your team at work: there will be an abundance of sweet treats (I'm partial to those giant cookie cakes from the mall) and there will be a card passed around for everyone to scrawl the professional version of sweet nothings in. Depending on the "importance" of the person, you may get the bonus activities of farewell gifts and/or an all-team champagne toast.

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Peloton

A Night of Networking with Peloton’s Women Tech Leaders

If you are a New York based tech professional and you'd like to attend this event, please email your name and LinkedIn URL to events@powertofly.com.

Whether you are a software engineer, fitness enthusiast or both, you won't want to miss PowerToFly's evening of product demos and networking with the women tech leaders and allies at Peloton.

Founded in 2012, Peloton brought top talent together in its Silicon Alley headquarters to create a new concept in fitness. In their words, "We loved cycling but had a hard time finding a workout that consistently fit our schedules, and our at-home workouts never felt quite up to par. So, we set out to create a world-class indoor cycling studio experience on your time, and in the comfort of your own home."

This event is your chance to hear directly from the women tech leaders and allies who make their revolutionary products like the Peloton Bike, Peloton Tread and Peloton App possible. We'll be devoting a large portion of the event to taking your questions and I know the Peloton team wants to hear from you!

The unique evening will take place on Wednesday, February 12th from 6pm to 8:30pm at 125 W 25th Street.

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Some Men Get a Pay Bump When They Enter Female-Dominated Jobs — How Can Women Benefit Too?

These Researchers Argue It Could Lead to Traditionally Female Jobs Becoming More Valued

Studies have found that as women take over male-dominated fields, the pay drops. So what happens when men start joining female-dominated fields?

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