Politics & Policy

Why ‘Manspreading’ Is Definitely a Serious Issue, as Explained by the Feminist Internet

The government should maybe do even more.

You might not think that it’s appropriate for the government to launch a campaign telling men how to sit on the subway. Well guess what? You’re wrong. 

If you “manspread” on the subway (which, by the way, means to sit with your legs apart, in case you are a fixture of the patriarchy who doesn’t educate himself on important women’s issues), you are doing so much more than taking up space.

Here’s what’s really going on with manspreading, as explained by some of the bright, forward-thinking minds on the Feminist Internet:

1. Manspreading is saying, “Who gives a f*** if you can’t sit, [we] are men. See [our] balls.”

This is as explained by a man, Mychal Denzel Smith, for the blog Feministing. (Finally a man courageous enough to cue the rest of the world in to the secret language of the subway brotherhood!)

2. Manspreading is “an assertion of male dominance,” and “every one” of the manspreaders does it because he feels like he has to “claim [his] territory and [his] manhood in this public space, even at the discomfort of all the other passengers.”

Another great point by Smith. Who, by the way, also wrote: “When I stand, I sometimes cross my legs.” Sexy, sexy, sexy! Amirite ladies?!

3. “Let’s talk about these f***ing guys for a second because they’re f***ing everywhere. The MTA is full of them.”

Madeleine Davies of Jezebel really makes a great point here. In her brilliant piece, titled “F*** You, Dudes Who Sit With Their Legs Spread So Wide That They Take Up Two Seats,” Davies explains that it’s not just like two or three dudes who sit this way. Seeing as literally millions of people ride the subway every day, I might have been able to use context clues to figure out that probably there are a lot of people doing this, but she deserves praise for putting it so eloquently.

4. “There is no worse, man-centric behavior than manspreading on the subway.”

Seriously — Brian Moylan is totally right. There is nothing worse than manspreading. I would much rather be sneezed on or purposely verbally sexually harassed. I wonder if he crosses his legs when he stands the way Smith does. If so, there are wayyyyy more sexy men in NYC than I thought!  

See, it’s so much worse than just being rude. It’s the patriarchy. I’m pretty angry that the MTA campaign will also cover people taking up space with backpacks and stuff as if it’s even close to the same thing. Stupid idiot female traitors like Cathy Young, who wrote a piece called “‘Manspreading’? But Women Hog Subway Space, Too,” don’t help. But I guess some people just don’t get it. Manspreading is nothing like when I sometimes come on the train with a giant backpack, because my backpack does not metaphorically spit on your face for your gender.

I am glad that the government is finally taking action. This is clearly not the kind of thing that could be solved by asking people to scoot over and make room for you to sit down, and I am glad the government is finally doing something about it.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.

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