What Happens When a Lady “Manspreads”

GenderOff BeatTravel 2 Comments

If you’re not familiar with the term “manspread,” then you’ve likely never ridden a NYC subway or bus. So here’s how we define it: the rude and self-indulgent act of spreading one’s legs far wider than necessary to accommodate anything that might exist between them, even among the most blessed men, while seated in a communal row, thereby encroaching on everyone else’s right to some personal space and/or a seat.

You may think we’re joking, but this is a thing and it has reached epidemic proportions. So much so that the MTA, the governing body of the New York City Subway System, has launched an anti-manspreading campaign, while those in favor of a guy’s right to “manspread” as wide as he chooses have launched a petition declaring such campaigns as “sexist.” PS – This particular petition was started by… yep, you guessed it… a men’s rights activist (MRA) group. More specifically, the Canadian Association for Equality, whose goal is to prevent the same anti-manspreading campaign from launching in Toronto.

“Intrigued by this faux outrage,” Policy Mic’s Senior Editor, Liz Plank “decided to put the logic of these MRAs to test and find out if men really were being unfairly targeted. Do men take up more space just because they can? What happens when women act the same way?”

Her conclusion, “As it turns out, people respond very differently to a woman taking up tons of space on the subway. It involves a lot more staring, glaring and photo-sharing. When men do it? Not so much.”


  • Estelle

    I’ve certainly been a victim of this, though I didn’t realize it had a name. I don’t know how many times I have ended up smooshed against a wall of the bus I ride regularly just because some guy parked next to me and stuck his leg next to mine, which made me uncomfortable so I moved, only to have him move so he was again touching me, and the cycle to repeat itself again and again until I had nowhere else to go. One time I decided I was tired of the cycle happening and slammed my fist into his leg. He got the message and moved. Frankly, I hope I gave him a bruise.

  • Dejuitsi

    This Nick guy said he’s rude on the subway to begin with?… Wow, he sounds like a dream.

    How about we stop focusing on cute phrases that focus in on a minute problem and instead create a campaign that covers the bigger issue?… “Don’t be an A$%hole”.

    If every single person that lives in New York can go on and on about someone or something that happened on the subway that makes everyone crazy then who are the people that the stories are about? Do they tell the same stories about someone else?

    Anyway, it’s really not that hard to be in a public setting and not be a colossal sh@!head.