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The Feminist’s New Crusade: The War on Manspreading man spreading 620x330

The Feminist’s New Crusade: The War on Manspreading

clinton_manspread_zps158757dc  The Feminist’s New Crusade: The War on Manspreading clinton manspread zps158757dc

Who better than “Slick Willy” to illustrates the pleasures and privileges of “Man-Speading”?

Feminists have found another way to look foolish and discredit their lunatic agenda with this last hit-piece which is aimed at men who spread their legs a little bit too much in public places and in public transportation.  They call it “manspreading” and they have declared war upon it. For those who see the patriarchy everywhere, this posture is the ultimate in male privilege. [5] While one columnist insisted that the manspreading campaign was a sign that feminism was heading for its last, gasping breath of relevance in the Western world, that’s maybe a little too optimistic. For good or ill, there are great chances that this peculiar kind of idiocy is here to stay. There is something far too intoxicating about victimhood, impotent rage, and conspiracy theories, and 3rd wave feminism has all three in ample abundance. For girls who grew up with very little strife, the movement provides them with the drama their real life so sorely lacks. [5] This war on man spreading” lunacy is going on in several countries, Turkey, the United States, Canada and even Sweden.  As we all know, Sweden has a reputation as having the most equal relations between the sexes in the world—it’s a place where male politicians are voted “woman of the year” by feminists, where young dads on paternity leave take toddlers for play dates while their wives work, where a preschool can casually ban gendered pronouns. [13] A recent World Economic Forum report claimed Sweden is the most gender equal country in the world. Yet some Swedish women apparently think that the image of the Nordic country as a feminist’s paradise is just a veneer hiding deep-seated misogyny. [4] So, the lunacy goes like this: you just finished a long, hard day at work, you’re tired and drained but at least you can relax sitting down on the train commute home. Well, not anymore.  Thanks to political correctness and it’s idiotic feminist enforcers, no moments of private relaxation will be allowed to you any longer. A new crime has been commited and you probably are completely unaware of it: manspreading. Yes, this new commuter scourge has been uncovered recently in the New York Times and was revealed by Emma G. Fitzsimmons. [8] Although she does not take this “crime” too seriously, several feminists do and have turned stopping the spread of manspreading into a crusade.   “You don’t have to be a feminist to recognize and agree with the fact that men are given permission to take up more space in our society,”  says Lyndsay Kirkham, a professor of English at Humber College. [7]  Before we examine the case of some real-life feminist crusader against manspreading, here is Fitzsimmons explaning this phenomenon:

It is the bane of many female subway riders. It is a scourge tracked on blogs and on Twitter. [12] 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. Now passengers who consider such inelegant male posture as infringing on their sensibilities — not to mention their share of subway space — have a new ally: the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Taking on manspreading for the first time, the authority is set to unveil public service ads that encourage men to share a little less of themselves in the city’s ever-crowded subways cars. 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. With space at a premium on crowded transit systems, several cities have decided to act.

Philadelphia already has signs on its transit system that read “Dude it’s rude . . . Two seats — really?” and New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has just launched an etiquette ad campaign that includes cartoon posters of a spread-eagled transit rider that says “Dude . . . Stop the Spread, Please. It’s a space issue.”  [7] Whether they will heed the new ads is another question. [8] Officials haven’t released a chart yet showing allowable spreadage.

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority have bought into the feminist lunacy of “manspeading” in order to be able to justify stacking more people in public transportations.

To counter this “normalized expression of power” (that’s what they call slouching), a group of sweedish firebrand feminists have set up a blog called “Macho i Kollektivtrafiken” (“Macho in Public Transport”), encouraging readers to send in sneaky snaps of men in relaxed poses. The aim is to spread awareness of a “symbolic and active recreation not just of power, but of a stereotypical form of masculinity.” [4] Since mid-2013, the Tumblr blog Men Taking Up Too Much Space On The Train has been posting pictures of men sitting with their legs spread wide on public transportation in condemnation of their lack of regard for the personal space of others. In recent news, Turkey has joined the backlash crowd in a newer Twitter campaign called “Close Your Legs,” in which women tweet images of men on the subway, often captioned with “Bacaklarini Topla” and “Yerimi Isgal Etme” (“stop spreading your legs” and “don’t occupy my space,” respectively). The campaign, kick started by the Istanbul Feminist Collective, involves women throughout Turkey (and other parts of the world) posting images of people, primarily men, sitting spread-eagle on public transportation vessels. [12]

Immediately, some men lashed out, defending the spread-legged people in the photographs, claiming the reason that men can frequently be observed in this space-hogging position is purely the result of anatomy–that it is uncomfortable for males to sit with their legs closed, as it squeezes their genitals painfully. [12]

a1  The Feminist’s New Crusade: The War on Manspreading a1The Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE), a men’s rights group, has launched an online petition urging the TTC to take a more gender-neutral approach to people hogging space.  “It’s physically painful for men to close their legs and we cannot be expected to do so, and it’s also a biological necessity for us to do so,” the campaign states. “We can’t force woman to stop breast feeding on busses (sic) 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.”  CAFE volunteer Mike Wood of London, Ontario created the petition on Wednesday. So far it has garnered nearly 900 signatures. “I understand the concern about people taking up more than what’s necessary on the bus … but why we have to focus on one gender is beyond me.” Wood, an infrequent Toronto visitor, says.  While the TTC is aware of the spreading social media frenzy and the MTA’s etiquette move, it has no immediate plans to clamp down on men’s legs.  “Everybody that is riding the TTC is paying a fare, and if there’s an empty seat, they should have the opportunity to occupy it,” says TTC spokesperson Milly Bernal. “Transit is public space. We’re all sharing it. Just be kind.” [7]

Rosalind Robertson is a daily TTC user and policy analyst. She finds CAFE’s reasoning absurd and told the Toronto Star: “If you’re a man and you can’t sit with your knees aligned to your shoulders without being in pain, you might want to see a doctor.  [7] We have the same line of reasoning coming from Gabrielle Moss, who made a social experiment on the subject. According to her “malespreading” is a rude and distasteful male posture that is infringing on people’s sensibilities which is the manifestation of some exacerbated “male privilege.”  She brush away the biological argument according to which male specimens do this in order to make the spatial requirements for their testicles.  [8]

I found that I still had questions about the dudes I saw stretching out daily, luxuriating on pee-smelling rush-hour trains as if they were fine European spas. Did it actually feel good to stretch out like that? Physically? Emotionally? Would it feel good if I did it? Would people be angry that a woman was slouched and spreading? [8]

In order to examine what she’s talking about when she connect “man speading” with “male privilege” we can look at an article that we found on The Flounce, which explains it in the following manner:

While I am not sure if a man’s act of sitting with legs widespread necessarily constitutes sexual harassment, it is inconsiderate, vaguely domineering, and it is a symptom of a greater problem in many societies: Consciously or not, many men frequently feel entitled–entitled to others’ personal space, entitled to success, entitled to money, entitled to jobs, entitled to things that do not naturally belong to them. Men in most societies are socialized in entirely the wrong ways, and this isn’t always illustrated necessarily by overt sexism, but often by microaggression. […] And while some may argue that it’s not sexual harassment per se, it’s definitely (oft-unconscious) sexual aggression, which may be where women are coming from when they label it as a form of harassment. One of the many reasons women are told to cross their legs when sitting, especially when wearing a skirt, is to remind them of their duty to exhibit modesty. When a man sits with his legs wide open, it brings male sexuality to the forefront of our attention, whether they mean for it to or not.  [12]

Most people obviously have much more serious things to worry about…unless you are a feminist with way too much idle time on your hands such as Gabrielle Moss. Ms Moss has made it her personal mission to reveal to the world the heinous crime of manspreading. [1] She explains the strategy and the underlying psychological processes behind this horrible crime:

A problem as frustrating as it is mysterious, the man who takes up multiple seats on public transit with his splayed-out legs inspires all sorts of questions among his fellow riders: Is the leg-spreader exercising his male privilege, or, as some defenders would have you believe, merely attending to the unique spatial requirements of his balls? Is he blocking off empty seats to his left and his right with his knees out of obliviousness, or passive-aggressive malice?… [3]

The founder of the sweedish blog Macho i Kollektivtrafiken (a website where people post the embarrassing pictures of those who are guilty of  “manspeading”), 27-year-old My Vingren, when interviewed by Vice said that she thinks that men who are practicing “manspreading”  uncounsciously oppress women. In other words, those men who take up more space than they physically need when using public transport are practicing an “invisible and unconscious expression of power in an everyday, public space.” [4] She goes even further in the analysis of the unconscious thought processes that lies behind the “man speading” behavior saying that:

One of the most problematic aspects of having such an extensive power structure is that a lot of people aren’t even aware that how they act affects others. The fact that men get more space in classrooms, at board meetings, and so on, is part of a structural oppression that not everyone knows they’re taking part in.  […] This is part and parcel of the kind of oppression that leads to women being raped, getting lower salaries, and being exposed to violence in relationships. [4]

Gabrielle Moss, in her article Why Do Guys Spread Their Legs When Sitting on The Subway? My Weekend of Sitting Like a Man, decided to take this problem by the absurd and decided to act like a dude for a period of time and went on to document and analyse people’s reaction to her “spreading behavior” in public places and public transportation.  She explain her sociological experiment:

I decided, for the length of one weekend, to become a slouch-and-spreader. To truly understand the phenomenon, I decided I’d act like the worst examples I had encountered in my own commuting life: I wouldn’t budge for a knee nudge or exasperated expression. I would hold my ground. I would embody the worst of slouch-and-spread assholery to the letter. I would try very hard to imagine that I had balls, and that those balls were desperate for air. And by the end of the weekend, I hoped to understand what made the slouch-and-spreaders slouch and spread. [3]

feminist-man-spreading  The Feminist’s New Crusade: The War on Manspreading feminist man spreading

Gabrielle Moss during her “woman spreading” social experiment

Unfortunately for Ms Moss, she discovered the secret joys of manspreading.  She tells her readers that she had a taste of the sacro-saint “male privilege” and she kinda liked it.  A secret previously held by men only for eons until uncovered by this intrepid feminist investigative journalist:

By the end of the weekend, I felt immensely confident, and also profoundly ashamed. I was horrified at myself for having capitalized on the very terror of aggressive strangers on the subway that I myself had felt so many times. […] And then, as my weekend wore on, a funny thing happened: I registered the fear and displeasure of strangers less and less. I went from faking being absorbed in my book as I maintained a nervously wide stance, to actually being absorbed in my book, forgetting that my legs were splayed out like I was holding a beach ball between my knees.  In other words, I became unconscious of my own manufactured privilege. As people viewed my leg spread as an act of aggression and possible instability and steered clear of me, I slowly began to stop even noticing them. [3]

She also found out that even if some people may get exasperated by manspeading, few if not none of them were willing to fight against it,  she tried to bug them as much as she could by speading her body as much as possible, but beside a couple of disprobing side glance she encountered no resistance whatsoever.

But God, it was so easy to act like a dick on the subway! How could we possibly get people to stop slouch-and-spreading when it was this easy to do and this scary to stand up against? […] of the 20 or so folks that I sat next to, most of them, male and female alike, just quietly tried to fit themselves around my body without saying a word or expressing any clear frustration. Though most of the women pulled their bodies inward and away from me for the entire ride, a few of the men slipped into the seat next to me with a pulled-together body posture, before trying to spread their legs out into my space once they were anchored in a seat. [3]

Her conclusion is also about the “male privilege” idiocy:

I couldn’t even imagine how much the fear of your fellow riders, combined with a lifelong shot of male privilege, would allow you to block out.  […] Public transit, like all public spaces, is a cultural battleground, and what goes on there sets the tone for the cultural standards at play in the rest of our lives. It’s worth it to make that space as welcoming and comfortable as possible for all people. [3]

David Covucci from Brobible, doesn’t agree at all with the feminist standpoint on the issue and he takes us back to common sense:

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. [8]

In other words, we should’t “give a fuck” about that. He adds:

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. [8]

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[1] P.J. Gladnick, New York Times Discovers New Crime Against Humanity: Manspreading, Newsbusters, December 23, 2014 | 10:50 AM EST
[2] Daniel Otis, Man-spreading, a transit controversy with legs, The Star, Sun Dec 28 2014
[5] Feminism’s Latest Absurd Cause: Manspreading, Fix this Nation, December 26, 2014
[6] Tad Cronn, Now You Can’t Even Sit Like a Man, Political Outcast, December 23 2014
[7] Daniel Otis, ‘Man-spreading’ on public transit draws online fury, Cambridge Time, Dec 29, 2014
[7] The Guyliner, Manspreading: Why We Do It and Why We Need to Stop, The Huffington Post, 02/12/2014 17:17 GMT
[8] Emma G. Fitzsimmons, A Scourge Is Spreading. M.T.A.’s Cure? Dude, Close Your Legs., New York Times, DEC. 20, 2014
[9] Milo Yiannopoulos, What is ‘Manspreading’ and Why are People Angry about It?, Breitbart, 22 Dec 2014
[10] Selwyn Duke, Liberals Tell Men to Keep Their Legs Together, New American, Friday, 21 November 2014
[13] Genderless preschool bans ‘him’ and ‘her’ , The Herald Sun,  June 27, 2011 2:04AM

About Bill Wallace

Bill Wallace is a self-fashioned writter, a computer programmer and cybermarketer from Quebec City, Canada who decided to enter the political arena after his disillusionment with the socialist system under which he was living in the French Canadian province of Quebec.

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