A room of her own

Here’s an interesting tidbit from Communicating Gender Diversity by Victoria Pruin DeFrancisco and Catherine Helen Palczewski:

The term proxemics refers to the study of personal space, the invisible area around a person that is considered her or his territory. The size of personal space with which a person feels comfortable varies greatly by culture (Sommer, 1959). In U.S. culture, space is power. Persons of higher status tend to wield more personal space in their offices, seats, gestures, and homes. A review of proxemic research on gender concludes that “gender research all support[s] the theory that status is a powerful organizer of proxemic behavior” (Gillespie & Leffler, 1983, p. 141). Although this research was limited to the study of Whites in the United States, it consistently shows that the White women studied had smaller personal space, were more likely to have their personal space invaded by others, and were more likely to acquiesce to the invasion than were the White men studied.

This quote sets my mind whirling about power and perception. And about needing a space to write, a room of one’s own — it’s not just about space, but about power.