Sitting off the bench

Elena Kagan with Senator Amy KlobucharRobin Givhan agonizes in the WaPo over the fact that Elena Kagan, inexplicably, does not cross her legs:

In the photographs of Kagan sitting and chatting in various Capitol Hill offices, she doesn’t appear to ever cross her legs. Her posture stands out because for so many women, when they sit, they cross. People tend to mimic each other’s body language during a conversation, especially if they’re trying to connect with one another. But even when Kagan sits across from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who has her legs crossed at the knees, Kagan keeps both feet planted firmly on the ground. Her body language will not be bullied into conformity.

She does not cross her legs at the ankles either, the way so many older women do. Instead, Kagan sits, in her sensible skirts, with her legs slightly apart, hands draped in her lap. The woman and her attire seem utterly at odds.

Harriet MiersNot that there’s anything wrong with that. Besides, we don’t know for certain why Kagan sits the way she sits. Perhaps she finds crossing her legs uncomfortable. And at fifty, she’s old enough to have caught at least the tail end of the Conventional Wisdom about unexpected bulges and/or the premature development of spider veins. I refuse even to entertain the idea that, well, this is how proper lesbians sit. (Not that I have any expertise on the subject, but were there a stereotype, presumably I’d have heard it by now.) As for the ostensible “frump” issue, we need only go back to the last time an older woman of putative sub-Hollywood appearance was nominated for this post, and … no, wait, forget about that, apparently Harriet Miers does occasionally cross her legs, and I’m sorry I even brought up the idea in the first place.

Still, if we’re looking for killer judicial gams, we have to turn to the private sector:

Marilyn Milian on the Ellen Show

Taking a moment out from presiding over The People’s Court, here’s Judge Marilyn Milian, out of the robe, doing a guest shot on Ellen. Note that Ellen’s legs are crossed, and she’s certainly a proper lesbian.

(Suggested by Ann Althouse.)


  1. Jeffro »

    23 May 2010 · 9:35 pm

    Geez, can we cut up a chicken and read it’s entrails in the search for clues that Kagan is a lesbian or not?

    Magic 8 Ball says: “You may rely on it.”

  2. CGHill »

    23 May 2010 · 9:39 pm

    At the moment, I’d trust the 8 Ball before I’d trust sixteen or sixty-four random pundits.

  3. Deborah »

    23 May 2010 · 10:23 pm

    Kagan has short legs—it’s hard to cross short stubby legs, even at the ankles.

  4. CGHill »

    24 May 2010 · 8:05 am

    Indeed, though many years ago I was dating someone barely four foot nine and she didn’t seem bothered by the process.

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