Meredith Vieira is 60 years old and she’s making a “come back” on talk TV (I didn’t realize she’d left) and I wish her luck. There are not enough mature women in film or TV. It’s as though every woman over 55 has gone missing except for ads about Depends, retirement destinations and Nancy Pelosi who is 74. As I was watching a promo for her show last night, I said to self, “Why do women do that? Why do they sit like that in public?” You’ve all seen it; maybe you’ve wondered too. One leg folded under and the knee pulled against the chest to make a shape like a toddler trying to do yoga. Next time you watch a TV talk show, watch the female guest. She flounces in from the Green Room having spent hours on her make-up, hair and torn jeans to look trendy and tousled, sits down next to the host, and promptly pulls one leg up to her chest, or sits with it folded under her. Then look at the men—neatly dressed, usually a suit, sitting up straight (unless a musician—they slouch), and making no attempt to look small and child-like.
I went through images to see if I could find it, but none were as extreme or as revealing as the one I saw in the promo. In the promo she was wearing tights (don’t recall the top) and had bare feet—like maybe she was getting ready for bed. Really? Is that what it takes to attract an audience of middle age, over weight women (judging from the audiences). So I looked at an NBC clip of the upcoming show, and she was wearing tight jeans, heels, and something that looked like the jacket for a suit or dress from the 90s picked up at the resale shop. Very odd; if that’s in style I guess I have some old blazers I can pull out.
In these images, the first looks like the way we probably all sat on the floor for junior high gatherings. Many carried this position into their 20s and 30s until they gained weight or got pregnant and couldn’t manage it. But I’ve seen women sit like this in public! Then the next photo is a very common position I’ve seen at meetings, in restaurants, although usually one leg is curled under. It’s a more typical guy position—spread the legs and take all the room you can to look powerful. It’s not flattering for women. If men blow out their knees in athletics, I think women do it from years of sitting with their legs curled under with all their body weight in the wrong places. I sit like that last photo watching TV—but I wouldn’t if I actually were on TV.