Deirdre Reynolds: Women go out on a limb with new stance

Liveline this week fixed its crosshairs on how female presenters stand on television.
Model Emily Ratajkowski

Model Emily Ratajkowski

Deirdre ReynoldsSunday World

Spread the word: ‘womanspreading’ is in.

Proof that silly season is in full swing, Liveline this week fixed its crosshairs on how female presenters stand on television.

Tuesday’s show heard one caller grumble about anchors whom you’d think were standing with their legs in different time zones.

“I think it’s unladylike,” the woman complained to stand-in presenter Katie Hannon. “They tend to stand with their feet maybe 2ft apart.

“Now, the PR people who are in charge of this would probably say that it’s a powerful kind of a stance.

“I think it could be slightly sexually provocative.”

Responding to the daft segment ahead of that night’s Prime Time, presenter Sarah McInerney tweeted: “Lots of breaking news this evening. I hope I remember to stand, eh, narrowly.”


Ireland AM host Muireann O’Connell also took to Instagram (below) to jokingly demonstrate some more ‘acceptable’ poses for women on TV.

Here’s my broad stance on the issue: consider it payback for millennia for manspreading.

Muireann O'Connell

Muireann O'Connell

Although it only formally entered the Oxford Dictionary in 2015, as anyone who’s ever had a stranger’s knee digging into their thigh on public transport will tell you, the practice of men taking up as much room as humanly possible in public spaces has been around as long as sitting has.

Celebrity super-spreaders include Barack Obama, Miles Teller and Ben Affleck. But even ‘nice guy’ Tom Hanks was forced to defend himself after being snapped sprawled out on the New York subway in 2015.

“Alright, this pisses me off,” the Elvis star told chat show host James Corden at the time.

“I was accused of manspreading because it looks as though I’m taking up two seats.

“The train was half empty – there was plenty of room. I was not manspreading.

“I was just enjoying a pleasant ride on the number 2 train.”

Tell it to metro bosses, Tom, who at one point had to run an ad campaign imploring male passengers: ‘Dude, stop the spread please’.

From early age, women are conditioned to sit in a ‘ladylike’ way with knees together or, even more schoolmarmishly, their legs crossed to avoid doing a Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct.

Since the #MeToo movement, now women are taking a literal stand against such stereotypes.

Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski are just two of the stars who’ve embraced the power pose on social media, with the trend even getting its own hashtag.

But there could be another very good reason to join the #womanspreading brigade this summer.

One understandable reason why men do it is to avoid squashing their swimmers.

Now research shows how women should also spread ‘em for the sake of their health.

Although it doesn’t cause varicose veins, contrary to the old wives’ tale, crossing your legs can increase blood pressure and cause joint pain and poor posture, especially for women whose pelvises are wider.

In 2016, US orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Barbara Bergin, even started a health initiative called SLAM to encourage women to ‘Sit Like A Man’.

In the interests of equality, I’m happy to start taking up a bit more room on the Luas by adopting the optimum spreading position of legs at 11 o’clock and one o’clock.

If the nation can pull together to ‘stop the spread’, then we ladies can relax and start it.

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