As I gear up to launching Finding Inclusivity, I’m thinking about a lot of things.
What it means to be a woman. How that has affected how I move through life. What we women all have in common.
And one thing I noticed, looking around at the women around me, is body language.
Have you heard of man-spreading? It made the news at least once recently. Men sitting in public transit taking up more than their seat, legs spread wide.
Stay with me here because I love men. Some of my favourite people are men. This is not anti-men. This is just observation.
Men take up space in the way they sit and stand. Wide. Unapologetic. Making sure we know that they’re there.
Women sit tight. Legs crossed. Arms folded. Shrinking.
I noticed this even in myself. And definitely around me.
There’s thinking out there that our body language affects how we feel. That if we shrink, we feel small. The same way that if you smile when you’re not happy, your mood lifts.
So what do these differences mean?
In my mind, it feels like we apologize for taking up space. We go out of our way to minimize the space we do take. We regret our very presence.
And do you know what I did about this?
I sit and stand like a man. When I find myself shrinking, I spread out. I’ve been told it’s not lady like but I don’t care. When I am in a space, I choose to OWN that space.
I’m here. I have a purpose. I do NOT apologize for my presence.
And it works. I’m far more confident. I get taken seriously. It flows back into how I see myself.
Finding Inclusivity is a project about what it means to be a woman. How that has helped or hindered our way through life.
It is a dialogue about how we all fit, if we identify as female. That there is no cookie cutter version of being female. That it holds us back, moves us forward and definitely affects every aspect of our lives.
I’ll be reaching out to a few people this week, inviting them to join my project, but if you have a story to share, I want to hear from you. If you have interesting friends or connections, please connect!
Our stories matter. Our differences should be celebrated.
And men? Your stories will be celebrated next. I’m just starting where I know best: being female.