In class last night, my professor spoke to us about social studies done by scholars in the communications field. One such study focused on why women cross their legs while they sit, and why men do not.
Apparently, scholars have been studying this for more than 50 years. Their conclusion? "Sitting with your legs open is a symbol of power because you take up more space in doing so. I.e. Men are more powerful than women."
My professor then started pointing at those of us (many, myself included) who had our legs crossed, somehow insinuating our lack of power. For whatever reason, it got our blood boiling. (He kept saying how much he agreed with the study...)
Now, I can understand that, perhaps a century ago, women were taught to be subserviant to men and "take up less space." They weren't allowed to vote and weren't respected in society as men were. "Proper etiquette" was introduced and enforced.
Had the study in question been completed, say, 50 years ago, I would have no problem.
In today's society, however, the fact that women cross their legs when sitting is now a sign of culture and tradition. Our mother was taught by her mother. Her mother was taught by her mother (back when, perhaps, she learned to be "less-powerful" than men). Now, it's engrained in our society as being proper.
To say that it's simply a sign of power, in my opinion, is bogus. It's a cultural norm that was introduced during an (unfortunate) period of history and is not representative of gender roles in the U.S. today.
(Can I get an Amen, women?!)
Perhaps I'll start my own research tomorrow.