If you don’t ride some form of public transit on a daily basis, chances are the term “manspreading” is unfamiliar to you. Here’s the scientific definition: Manspreading is when a male passenger on a crowded subway train or public bus parts his legs in a wide V-formation effectively taking up too much room and making himself look like a tool.
It’s an epidemic, really, and to put a stop to this invasion of personal space, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City is set to roll-out a series of ads that hopefully inspire men guilty of manspreading to repent of their evil ways and close their legs. The upcoming ad campaign has also caught on in other places, including Toronto, who’s public transit system seems to be suffering from the same dilemma.
After Canadians took to Twitter to voice their support of a similar public service crusade taking root in their city, one group of unhappy subway riders has now created an online petition aimed at protecting their right to spread their junk wherever they damn well please.
The Canadian Association for Equality started a petition against the ban on manspreading and so far the organization’s page has over 900 signatures. Their success may be due in part to their impassioned yet totally bogus argument for a man’s right to spread:
Various people are looking to get the TTC to ban something they call “man spreading” which is a sexist term, and is the simple act of opening your legs. There are a lot more things taking up seats on buses than men opening their legs, such as purses, strollers, back packs and the like.
People should have a common understanding about how much room they are allowed to use on a bus. That should not vary because of their gender, and if they need extra room whether for baggage, carts, walkers, canes, or children they should seek it as a special permission. 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 them to stop bringing strollers on, why should we force men to close their legs? This is sexism plain and simple and it cannot be passed. My main goal for all of this is that I just want to see something gender neutral. It doesn’t have to be all about men, everyone hogs seats.
Admittedly, attacking men for spreading their legs does come off as a bit sexist and the group is right in its argument that people in general, not just men, are lacking in a basic understanding of public transit etiquette. But if it is in fact physically painful for you to sit with your legs closed, congratulations to you and may I suggest you stand up while riding any form of public transit? Honestly if you’re packing that much heat down there, sitting, in any form, probably causes mild discomfort. Why not spare yourself?
Just a thought.