Physical Address

College House, 2nd Floor, 17 King Edwards Road, London, HA4 7AE


What Is Manspreading and Is It Really Such a Crime?

If you’re wondering just what is manspreading and why is everyone talking about it, you’re in the right place!

Manspreading (also known as man-sitting or ballrooming) is the latest bullcrap that feminists have dreamed up to demonize men. In this article, we look into the issues surrounding the topic and find an answer to the question “what is manspreading?” and more importantly, “what the heck is all the fuss about?”


What is manspreading?

The term “manspreading” refers to the practice of guys sitting on public transport with their legs wide apart, and often using more than one seat.

This ridiculous public debate began with an anti-manspreading campaign which was started in 2013 on the social media website Tumblr. Later in 2015, the Oxford Dictionaries website decided to include the word “manspreading”.

The term has been called “a caricature of feminism” and the practice has been juxtaposed with tons of photographs of women taking up just as much space with their shopping bags!

Manspreading on United States public transport

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) based in the New York and Seattle areas started poster campaigns to encourage a more respectful and polite posture from their passengers, particularly when the trains and buses were busy.

What is manspreading

A representative of the Toronto Transit Commission went on record and stated they were not aware of any complaints against manspreading, but there were regular complaints about passenger etiquette, including passengers taking up extra seats with their baggage!

As a result of the ruckus, in 2017 the MTA made it forbidden to take more than one seat. The MTA campaign also critiqued other passenger behaviors including leaning on poles and applying makeup when traveling.

In a worryingly increasing number of cases, people (mainly women) that find manspreading offensive have taken photographs of the offenders and then gone on to the internet to name & shame them.

There have only been a few arrests to date with the first during the 2014 ”Dude, please stop the spreading“ campaign on the city’s metro network. NYPD officers arrested a man for manspreading but thank god….the charges were dropped. There were also two arrests in 2015 in Brooklyn which were not penalized by the courts.

Criticism of the whole manspreading issue

The demonization of campaigns against manspreading has been counter-criticized for not mentioning similar behaviors of the fairer sex. This includes taking up adjacent seats with their bags (known as “she-bagging.”)

It’s interesting to note that Twitter campaigns with the #manspreading hashtag have also been linked with the women’s equivalent hashtag #shebagging. This shows that men are not the only culprits of taking up a little too much space on the subway!

All this was quite humorous until haters started posting images of men spreading their legs on public transport to publicly shame them. An example of this was when Tom Hanks was photographed while he was riding the subway and took up two seats. He later said on a talk show, “Hey Internet, you idiot! The train was half empty! It was scattered – there was plenty of room!”

In defense of the need to manspread is the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE). This Canadian men’s-rights collective has been openly critical of campaigns against manspreading by transport authorities. They have argued that it’s “physically painful for men to close their legs and that campaigns against manspreading are comparable to forcing women to stop breastfeeding on public transport.”

What the experts say

Sitting in a position with the legs apart signals dominance and sexual attractiveness for men. Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk (a UC Berkeley researcher) recently found that when men spread out their arms and legs, it’s actually more sexually attractive than when women do it.

Using a series of photographs, Tanya found that the photos of men spreading out got 87% of interest from female viewers. Conversely, these kinds of poses were not as attractive to men, with many guys saying that the women looked “vulnerable” and “starfish-like”.

Interestingly, researchers have found that women are often perceived as more feminine when they sit cross-legged. This posture is regarded as the opposite of manspreading and is often seen as effeminate.

What are the problems with manspreading?

Manspreading is a way of getting more space in public situations. It’s similar to putting a bag on a seat so that no one can sit next to you. It seems like a whole lot of hot air to us but we should look at why the issue is getting everyone talking.

It’s rude & impolite – If when traveling on public transport (at busy times) a man takes up two or three seats, it could mean that people are standing that could be sitting down.

It’s a violation of people’s personal space. If your seating position causes you to have contact with strangers, it’s just not acceptable. It could also be considered harassment and even a crime.

It’s sexist – Just think about a woman sitting like this. She would more than likely meet with public disapproval and there would probably be questions about her character. Whereas when a man sits this way, it’s a different story!

Some men are making the situation worse – Some fellows are adding fuel to the fire with weak arguments. Their claims that it’s more difficult for a dude to hold his knees together really have no medical evidence. And similarly, claims that having a dick and balls makes it impossible not to manspread are simply unfounded (unless you’re hung like a donkey!)

In a nutshell, it’s not difficult, just sit with the knees shoulder-width apart and that’s it. You don’t have to squeeze your legs together but you also usually don’t need to have your legs at a 90-degree angle either!

Why do we manspread?

According to two researchers, men have to manspread. Writer for EconoMonitor Ash Bennington with the help of data scientist Mark Skinner studied the science behind manspreading.

Their new report states that men spread out on public transit because of their bodies’ proportions. This means that the chap that’s taking up two seats on the bus is dictated by his biology and not his macho attitude.

Most importantly, the pair found that manspreading is caused by men’s high shoulder-to-hip ratios. In other words, you can blame the way they sit on geometry. On average, a man’s shoulders are 28% wider than his hips, while the average womens are just 3% wider.

Other opinions on why dudes manspread

Shouldn’t a man be able to sit however he likes? Of course, the caveat is that if the bus is busy and he’s taking up more than his own seat, it goes without saying he’s in the wrong. But if no one else needs the seat next to him, why can’t a dude sit however he feels most comfortable?

There’s another reason men like to sit with their legs apart and relaxed: it keeps their junk cooler. It’s also more comfortable for the butt, too!

And don’t forget that men’s testicles are on the outside of the body for a reason. We all know that a man’s balls need to be at a slightly lower temperature than the rest of the body to be effective for fertilization.

Public transport can get pretty hot so it’s understandable that men want to sit with their legs wide apart. Let’s not forget that thighs have large arteries which generate a lot of heat and squeezing the legs together can get uncomfortable.

Who is anti-manspreading campaigner Anna Dovgalyuk?

Anna Dovgalyuk, 20, is the girl you may have seen in viral videos splashing a mixture of water and bleach onto the groins of men that were sitting with their legs spread too far apart on the St Petersberg metro.

Since publishing the videos, they have been shown to be fake by St Petersburg-based publication Bumagahave. The so-called bleach was actually only water and the men involved in the videos were paid actors.

The law student claims to have embarked on a one-woman crusade to eradicate manspreading. She has even accused men of “gender aggression.” Anna claimed that the bleach stains serve as “identification spots” so everyone can easily see which part of the body controls the behavior of these men.

Russian news outlet Rosbalt also accused the video of being fake, but Anna still insists that is real. There have also been campaigns against manspreading in Spain which had nothing to do with Anna.

Manspreading in Madrid

In 2017, the Spanish capital took action against manspreading by banning men from sitting with their legs too far apart on its trains and buses. Their grand plan was to install signs in a hope that men will fix their manspreading behavior.

The signs that were chosen depicted an illustrated man spreading his legs apart on a subway seat with a huge red “X”.

Incredibly, the move came after months of campaigning by angry women in Spain. The group known as Mujeres en Lucha staged protests and went on to start a petition called #MadridSinManspreading (#MadridWithoutManspreading). That hashtag went viral when it hit social media. Shortly after that, the group gave the petition to the Mayor of Madrid.

We hope that you enjoyed this article and that it answers your question “what is manspreading”. You might also like What is MGTOW?

Thanks to Diario de Madrid for his picture EMT Madrid amplía su señalización a bordo del autobús para evitar el “manspreading”, CC BY 4.0, Link and By Peter Isotalo [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons.