What Is ‘Manspreading’ And Why Should You Really Not Give A Fuck About It?

by 6 years ago



I will be the first to admit that men do a great number of things that are detrimental to women. Both consciously and subconsciously. From reinforcing the patriarchy to not more strongly advocating for equal rights to just simply performing actions that are inherently anti-women without realizing or thinking about the desultory effects of those behaviors. We could, and should, be better

But one thing men do that does not harm feminism is riding public transportation. But you wouldn’t know that by glancing at the internet today, where ladies are rejoicing at the MTA’s decision to end misogyny all together by shaming men who have a tendency to take up a little too much space on the subway (a subset of which I would assume, in the entire New York Metropolis (Population: 20 million), consists of no more than 278 guys.

But sure, #BANMEN. Because this a gender thing, and not an inconsiderate person thing, no different than a woman putting her purse on another seat instead of the gross-ass floor.

It’s called manspreading and apparently it’s spreading.

Here’s what the New York Times has to say about it.

It is the bane of many female subway riders. It is a scourge tracked on blogs and on Twitter.

And it has a name almost as distasteful as the practice itself.

It is manspreading, the lay-it-all-out sitting style that more than a few men see as their inalienable underground right.

The targets of the campaign, those men who spread their legs wide, into a sort of V-shaped slouch, effectively occupying two, sometimes even three, seats are not hard to find.

People will say this is another subtle way in which men reinforce their superiority. I will say, knowing full well men do that in many, many other ways, it is not. This is done by inconsiderate assholes, people who probably don’t have a vested interest in any of this shit and who wouldn’t know what the word ‘misogyny’ meant if you read them the dictionary definition and then forced them to take an entire semester’s worth of feminist lit classes.

Look, it’s fun to lump all men together. Lord knows I’ve laughed a bunch at the kill all men movement. I think it would be funny to kill them all. I really do. But this is just stupid.

Not according to leading women thought leading leaders though.

For Kelley Rae O’Donnell, an actress who confronts manspreaders and tweets photos of them, her solitary shaming campaign now has the high-powered help of the transportation authority, whose ads will be plastered inside subway cars.

“It drives me crazy,” she said of men who spread their legs. “I find myself glaring at them because it just seems so inconsiderate in this really crowded city.”

When Ms. O’Donnell, who lives in Brooklyn and is in her 30s, asks men to move, she said, they rarely seem chastened: “I usually get grumbling or a complete refusal.”

Yes, and if a man asked you to move you would scream “misogyny,” slap him in the face with your purse and then–wait, this hypothetical has never happened because a man has never once asked a woman to move on the subway because of additionally stupid, strength-based gender expectations that are straight out of the 1840s. I must, too, take off my cap when a dame enters the carriage.

Look, I am as pro-feminist as any male comes, but can we all agree this is a stupid rallying point, and even if it is just funny, comes across as more misandrist than it should? Like really, it’s not like it doesn’t affect normal men and women equally.

I like to sit on the subway, and if someone is manspreading, I move on with my god damn life and don’t make it into a discussion on entitlement.

But I’m not some women, the New York Times or the MTA, I guess.

TAGSFeminismmanspreadingpublic transportation