From a young age, women have been conditioned to carry ourselves a certain way. From the way we walk, talk, sit and stand - everything, every time has to reek of propriety and supposed good manners. We have been named and shamed every time a bra strap is visible because God forbid men came to know that we have boobs and think of us in another light! Be it in a skirt, or a pair of trousers - we sit with our legs firmly crossed no matter how much our legs chafe because women have to be appropriate and occupy as less space as possible. It is all too convenient, to render us submissive and docile, to keep us in our place.
Men, on the other hand, don't face any such issue. Even if their legs are almost doing a split on a chair aka "manspreading", that is acceptable behaviour. Because men will be men, amirite? I come from a middle class, liberal family yet I clearly remember my mother reprimanding me in my childhood for raising my voice against my incessantly irritating older brother stating, "that's not how young girls are supposed to behave." As a woman in my 20s, I find it beyond offensive that I can't comfortably occupy a space without raising an alarm. Try even stretching your legs out in a crowded metro and you'll know what I mean.
Which is why we need womanspreading. Women uncrossing their legs to reclaim space in their living rooms, office cubicles, in the broad daylight, in movie halls and in the comfort of their own homes. Models like Bella Hadid, Chrissy Teigen and actors Emily Ratajkowski, Bella Thorne among others have been using their social media accounts to bolster the message of simply sitting, however the heck we want.
The backlash to this is imperative. Every well-meaning nobody will be up in arms to tell you that it is not ladylike and proper. But at a time when cases of sexual harassment and violence against women are at an all-time high, sometimes small things also go miles in spreading the message. It is not acceptable for you to tell me that I'd look better when I smile. It is not acceptable for a society to impose restrictions on a woman's body which aspires to be free.
The #Metoo movement is a testament to how powerful our individual and collective voices are and that we won't be hushed up anymore. And by hook or by crook, whether you like it or not, we will get there.