Sheryl Sandberg is a pioneering women's leadership researcher, who examined women at work. TIME's Jessica Bennett offers us suggestions for how to not be "manterrupted" in meetings. It is one thing to make fun of something that pains you, and it is another thing to take action. “Manspreading,” taking up physical space, is NOT something only men are entitled to.
I attended the Oprah's Life You Want tour. My seats were way up in the top of the nose bleed section. Oprah is someone who knows how to take up space. She stood on stage in front of thousands of people. Even from way up in the bleachers, I could feel her presence and power. She owned her space and filled the area with her energy. That ability requires a deep sense of belonging, purpose, and self-worth. Only someone who knows they’re worthy of all that space could own the arena like she did. And, like all things, worthiness takes practice.
We live in a world that disenfranchises and diminishes the feminine, so no wonder we feel devalued. Not all women feel empowered, or have agency over their bodies. Not all women triumph over slut-shaming, body shame, or sexual violence. Not all women feel safe to stand up for themselves, feel comfortable in their own skin, and accept their worthiness. Not all women have stories with happy endings.
While Sinner Saint loves exemplifying the possibility of radical self-acceptance, we believe it is essential to hear all the voices of women—especially the ones that are uncomfortable to hear. These stories are as necessary to witness as the liberated sexy ones.
Women have internalized stories that tell us to be small, or that we are not good enough. It takes intentional healing to recover that part of your soul, the part that knows without question that you ARE worthy of taking up space. The good news is that you can fake it ‘till you make it—you don't have to be 100% certain to get started. You also don’t need to be on stage in a huge auditorium to practice body postures that let people know you mean business. You can own your space talking to the grocery store clerk, in a meeting, on the bus, or even when you’re alone.
I do this by feeling my feet on the ground, breathing deeply, lifting my chin and chest up, and feeling the strength of my spine. Sometimes I even just practice using my hands to take up space. It’s so easy! Stretch your arms all the way out, spread those fingers, and grab all the space you can!