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Perspectives

Publication Date

5-1-2010

Abstract

This article explores the differences in the sitting positions of college men and women. After conducting unobtrusive observations of 83 students at the University of New Hampshire, we analyzed our data and found that there are differences in the way men and women sit. Men tend to sit in open positions while women tend to sit in closed positions. Differences in leg positions were more notable than differences in arm positions. In regard to arm and leg combinations, the most common combination for men was open arm/open leg. There were no significant differences between arm and leg combinations of women. We explain these differences using the theory of social construction and by pulling from various articles ideas of gender socialization. It is important to understand that gender differences in body movement and behavior are not natural. If we can recognize that these differences are learned, we can begin to eliminate gender inequality and stereotypes.

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