Gender Codes: Sitting Positions

The social construction of gender activity in Second Life did a really good job portraying the difference in sitting positions of males and females. When my avatar was sitting, in most cases it was pretty easy to tell whether it was female or male posture because of the persona that was exemplified.

So, what is the difference between male and female sitting positions? When I picture a man sitting I think of a more open posture, legs spread apart and arms out, and with women I see a more closed position, arms folded or hands on lap and legs either together or crossed. 

Positions 1, 2, 4, and 6 all appeared to be more feminine positions than the other four positions. I believe that these four were female positions because of the posture that was displayed; they all had a more closed posture. In 1,2, and 4 the posture contained crossed legs and overall looked more pulled together than the ones I would consider masculine. 1 and 2 were the most upright and proper of the postures, while 4 seemed to be a little shy or reserved. 6 was the one that gave me the most trouble, it was the most relaxed of the positions I considered feminine, but after reevaluating the positions I considered male, it still seemed more reserved than those. The avatar in the more feminine positions appears shy and reserved. The avatar, as known to be important to women in general, seems to focus on appearance rather than comfort as the male postures seem to learn towards more.

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2:The avatar in this picture is in what I would consider the typical female position while sitting, very reserved and proper and exemplifying the closed posture that is associated more often with women.

After analyzing the images and determining which were feminine postures, it left me with 3,5,7, and 8 as masculine postures. The reason I believe these are male positions is because they are more open and laid back than those of the women,my avatars legs are spread apart in some and not really caring about appearances. Basically they are opposites positions compared to the women. The position makes it seem like the avatar is withdrawing itself from the situation and seems a little bored.

Below is one of the images I would consider to be masculine. It seems much more open and laid back than the image of the feminine posture above, wouldn’t you agree?

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I was not surprised by this exercise. The positions the avatar sat in were ones I see on a regular basis, so it seemed very normal. Because they were all positions I have seen before, it did not make it uncomfortable to see. The most interesting and fascinating part of the exercise was the way the avatar just moved from one position to the next. It was interesting to see it go from a very girly position to an extremely masculine position and how quickly my mind assessed the extreme change in posture.

The most obvious example of gender codes in everyday life is the typical stereotype of what a man’s role in the house is and what a woman’s role in the house is. The man does the yard work and the woman does the cleaning, that’s just the way it goes, or more realistically that is how society has set it up to be.

Social construction of gender is what we just saw, our biology does not train us to sit that way, it is a social thing. We are trained from a young age that women and men just do things differently even though there sometimes is no real reason for that difference.

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