During an etiquette seminar last week, a participant asked what I thought about Elena Kagan (Supreme Court nominee) not crossing her legs like a lady.
Unable to answer as I was unfamiliar with the story, I researched the topic after the seminar. It turns out that Robin Givhan, the fashion critic of the Washington Post wrote about Kagan’s sitting position during her meeting with Senator Amy Klobuchar. In the photograph that appeared with the story, Kagan had both legs firmly planted on the floor; Klobuchar had her legs crossed. Other journalists weighed in on Givhans’s story and one headline asked Why Kagan Won’t Cross Her Legs Like a Lady?
My first thought was why are journalists discussing the sitting posture for a Supreme Court nominee? Givhan had indicated that since so many women sit with their legs crossed, Kagan could not be bullied into conformity. As a former photographer I know that sometimes a photograph is just a photograph! Other pictures from that that meeting may have shown Kagan sitting in other positions.
Yes, a lot of women sit with their legs crossed, and the important points to remember about this posture include:
Not for women only. Both men and women sit with their legs crossed. Tween idol Justin Bieber recently did an impression of Matt Lauer on the TODAY Show which included crossing his legs as Lauder often does during interviews. So much for being a lady!
Crossing your legs can be distracting. If a woman wears a short skirt and crosses her legs, she produces a very sexy, too thigh-revealing image!
The bottom line is that crossing your legs is bad for your circulation as it puts increased pressure on your veins. We shouldn’t do it, and we shouldn’t judge a potential Supreme Court justice on whether she does or doesn’t do it.