Work the Power Pose

Published at Women in Higher Education in April 2016.

I can manage my body to improve how I feel, but I still live in a patriarchy. What frustrated me the most about Presence is the emphasis on changing the self but ignoring the culture that creates our senses of self. Feeling better doesn’t eliminate persistent gender bias, nor does it rid us of cultural expectations about gender.

Culture trains our bodies in gender. Culture teaches us to “read” certain bodies as powerful and other bodies as powerless no matter how we pose. When Cuddy suggests we just “stop thinking” about these poses as gendered, she ignores how culture is embedded in bodies.