Manspreading Still a Global Issue
Image of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez via Getty Images.
Manspreading, when men spread their wide open legs for the
whole goddamn train to see and take up bench space which could
accommodate at least three mid-sized women, is now forbidden in
Madrid’s public buses. As CNN reports, this marks a victory for
women’s groups like Mujeres en Lucha, who started the hashtag
Madrid joins other cities like New York which, back in 2015,
put up graphics with the message “Dude, stop the spread,”
prompting men to lash back with infuriated emails to
the MTA about other offenses like BO, fat people,
pursespreading, and big boobs. (Admittedly the NYPD took it a little too far when they arrested
at least two subway riders for manspreading).
But other men’s rights groups like the Canadian Association for
Equality of Toronto have voiced more sensible dissent. From
their 2014 Change.org petition:
This sets a very bad precedent as men opening their legs is
something we have to do due to our biology. It sometimes can
be physically painful for to close our legs and we can’t be
expected to do so. We can’t force woman to stop breast
feeding on busses or trains and we can’t force men or women
to stop bringing strollers on, why should we force men to
close their legs?
Their argument was countered by a more recent Change.org campaign by
Miccorelatos Feministas, which garnered nearly 12,000
It is not a question of bad education, but that just as women
have [been taught] to sit with our legs close together (as if
we had to hold something between our knees) men have
transmitted an idea of hierarchy and territoriality, as if
the space belonged to them.
While I can sympathize with crotch discomfort, let this be a
lesson to all men: don’t touch me with your knees.