The Psychology behind ‘Sit like a Lady’

“Is that how women are doing it nowadays?” she asked me as she stood across me on the other side of the mall lobby area.  I looked up from my phone that I was very focused on and looked at the woman speaking. She was looking at me, but I looked around at the empty lobby to make sure there was no one else she could be speaking to.  The mall in my town of living is small, and not very attractive. It was always dead in there, and this day was no different. There was one couple of people walking toward my way with their toddler in a stroller.  The lobby area contained that couple, my family and I, and this woman. It was clear to me that she was in fact speaking to me. I looked at her again, and she was standing in front of a jewelry store waiting on two men inside.  I must have had a confused look on my face because she continued to explain herself “Do you have to sit with your legs like that?” I quickly realized what her problem with me was, so I responded. “I am just sitting here with my toddler (Who was asleep in his stroller), waiting on my husband.”  I figured if I let her know I was married, she wouldn’t feel threatened by me since it looked like she was with her own husband. “That’s not how ladies sit, I guess there are no more ladies now” she continued. As she spoke, her men walked out of the store to join her and she slowly began walking with them.  I shouted back at her with irritation in my voice “And I am wearing jeans!” She rolled her eyes and faced her walking direction.  just soo you can get a picture of my sitting position, I was sitting like this:

Women Winter Fashion! Trendylov

Now, my hands were not carefully placed like hers, but I am talking about my legs.  One was tucked under my bottom, and one was bent and brought up beside myself. My family and I had been shopping all day and my feet actually hurt.  Getting them out from below my body felt nice, and since the mall was empty, I felt like I could relax more. My husband was talking to a salesman nearby and I was waiting for him to be done so we could continue with our shopping.  Of course if I were wearing a dress I would not have been sitting like this. I think all women in a skirt or dress should sit according to their dress outfit; Feet and legs closed. But if I am wearing shorts or jeans, I will sit more comfortably for my body.  And it shouldn’t be everyone’s business to direct me of how to sit and position MY body.

A Woman’s Responsibility

When people are born, they are born into a country with set rules and guidelines already made and followed by everyone.  But women are expected to follow more closely the rules put upon them. ‘Women don’t curse’, ‘women are to sit like a lady’, ‘women need to respect and follow their husbands’, ‘women take care of the house’. Women are given rules to control them and controlling their behavior.  And although I do not like this type of control on women, I understand that these rules were set upon us centuries ago. But let’s look at the psychology behind being told to ‘sit like a lady’.

Men are allowed to be improper, even animalistic.  It is believed that it is in their nature with the testosterone in their bodies.  Men, even young boys can express their anger in many ways, and people will barely bat an eye.  Women, even young girls are expected to have control over her emotions and actions. So if a woman acts inappropriately, she is scolded more harshly than the male counterpart. Women are easier to control than men and this is why women are told how to sit and act.

When I hear ‘sit like a lady’, I believe it is being said because society thinks that women are responsible for how men act.  He cannot control himself so it is up to her to control all situations in which men are involved. Men naturally think of sex often so women should sit with her legs closed and not open.  Sitting with her legs open gives him ideas and forces his mind to go in the sexual direction. He will be tempted to stare and make her feel uncomfortable or worse. Women should dress in attempt to not distract him as well.  Revealing clothing shows her curves, bottom, and breasts. So they should cover themselves up so as not to stress him out. Women are to dress and sit appropriately to respect other women who have husbands as well. Because since he can’t control himself, she should not draw his attention away from his wife.  

Women have also been instructed to ‘sit like a lady’ to make her shrink in size.  In the early 1900’s women were to sit with her legs tightly crossed to make her body take up less space in a man’s presence.  The man’s body was to appear bigger and appear to be the dominant one. Again, women were to keep his presence in mind while she sat down.

So when the woman told me that I should sit like a lady, I wondered if she knew what exactly she was asking of me.  Did she know what was really going on when she was growing up and directed to sit like a lady? Did she understand the meaning behind the words being told to her?  When she scolded me on how to sit, I know it was her own insecurity that made her respond to me that way. She was saying ‘How dare you sit that way, my husband is in this mall and you can possibly attract his attention’.  OR maybe she was saying ‘I was raised to sit like this so you should too’. Either way, I was not interested in following her directions to soothe her.

The Unspoken Power

A woman has great power between her legs, and this is not me saying it.  Society and the world we live in constantly remind you of this. We are a hyper-sexual generation today.  Sexuality is in the media that constantly feeds us information.  It is in the entertainment industry.  It is in the news with the women and children who are raped daily.

If a woman sat with her legs open, and she was wearing pants, some people will still take offense to this.  But why? I think they would take offense because it invokes things within themselves. Legs open does not mean she wants anyone to look, it does not mean she wants anyone to have sex with her. But because the vagina is so powerful, people’s minds go there automatically.  With just the spread of a leg, the power of the vagina is remembered.

It is offensive to people who fear that power.  Men want to take control of it, and have it for themselves.  Women dislike that power of another woman. She becomes hateful and even envious, and she reacts with hatred and dismay towards other women, especially if she isn’t ‘seated properly’.

Many people carry on with the idea that women intend to use their bodies to get what they want in life.  They dress in short skirts, to attract attention. But most women do not. Women like to wear comfortable clothes, they like to look good, and feel good.  Part of feeling good is wearing what makes you feel confident. So this brings me to say this: Society, please stop putting unwanted responsibilities on women, just because of her body.  Women have nothing to be ashamed of, because we are perfectly made. Everyone has a birth right to act how they want, talk how they want, and sit how they want. You have no right to control how a woman sits because you do not know what issues she may have with  ‘sitting like a lady’.  ‘Sitting like a lady’ is not healthy and can cut off circulation to our legs. It can also be very uncomfortable for women who have thick legs, sometimes even painful. But some women like myself enjoy sitting comfortably. My idea of comfortable changes with every chair, bench, or couch.  Sometimes I sit and want to cross my legs as I read a book. Sometimes I want my legs bent up under my bottom. Sometimes I want to sit with my legs open because my thick thighs push my legs open and it takes more muscle and bodily effort to force them close.

I along with most other women do not consider what other people think about our wardrobe or sitting position.  So stop giving those things your attention, and making a big deal out of it.  Stop forcing your ideas on women, because we don’t much care for them, we have our own, thank you.

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