What Happens When Women Take Up Physical Space

One man reacts to the imposition of outstretching of arms.

Vanessa Torre
6 min readAug 8, 2022


Photo by MART PRODUCTION via Pexels

I spent this past weekend at a concert series a few hours north of where I live. The folks I attended with are part of a sizeable group of friends. We would get together in the mornings and have coffee and mimosas.

The morning after the first night, we were all standing around and talking, and a guy in his 50s starts a conversation with a group of us women regarding how crowded the standing room section in front of the stage was.

He wasn’t joking. Fun was had, and much of the fun around the stage area was had by couples swaying cutely together or by women out there dancing and having a good time.

Before I go any further, I want to be very clear that this guy is a sweetheart of a man. Just a good dude that is exactly the person you want to stand in a parking lot having mimosas with. The kind of guy who rocked a pedi with painted toes and is married to a great woman. I am not here to drag this man. Period.

But, there is something weird happening with me right now, and I’m having a hard time turning it off, regardless of the situation I’m in. I have become hyper-aware of the messaging sent toward women that is designed to keep us in our lane.

What this looks like is that I will hear something, and it registers differently. It could be totally innocuous, but it makes me realize how ingrained certain constructs and behaviors are in our psyches and that everyone generally accepts them. Both men and women. I’m paying attention in a way I never have before.

So, back to the parking lot mimosa conversation. This acquaintance expressed his discontent with not being able to really get onto the dance floor as he noted that women do this thing where they kind of stretch their arms out on the dance floor and take up a bunch of space.

I couldn’t tell if he was mentioning it to us as a way to understand why this happens or as a plea to kindly work with our sisters to take up less space on the dance floor.



Vanessa Torre

Top 10 feminist writer. Writing, coaching, and relentlessly hyping women in midilfe. linktr.ee/Vanessaltorre Email: vanessa@vanessatorre.com