In Defence of Manspreading: an Issue That Really Isn’t an Issue

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People sit. We sit at desks, on trains, on planes, in our homes and at desks in our homes. Like most things people do, people can sit in different ways. Legs crossed tightly, legs crossed loosely, crossed at the ankles. one leg crossed over one thigh, the other leg crossed over the other side. Heck, some of us just sit with legs completely neutral. These different positions and postures can vary person to person depending on culture, gender and what’s comfortable. However, there is one way of sitting that has a negative connotation to it. One that has been popularized as being a tool of the patriarchy.

Manspreading.

Manspreading is a sitting position where the legs are spread outwards, most commonly practiced by men. The person behind the phrase must have creativity bursting at the seems to come up with that.

This term has been used by feminist groups as a way to twist a quirk common among men as a method men use to oppress women. Buzzfeed posted a video in November of last year about this  Three Buzzfeed employees manspread for a week in public places. The women felt “ashamed” and “like monsters” and couldn’t believe anyone was okay with men sitting like this. But there are a lot of people who are okay with this because a lot of people don’t care. To a lot of guys, it’s just sitting down. Also, most of the examples they use as manspreading are over exaggerated and what they do in the video to get a reaction out of people is called being an obnoxious person, which is a role that both genders can play.

There is also the elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. Human anatomy, more specifically the differences between male and female anatomy. To keep this as appropriate as possible I will refrain from going into anything explicit. The female anatomy allows women to be more comfortable crossing their legs at the thighs and most women do. While male anatomy isn’t so forgiving, making crossing the legs feel a little cramped. Therefore, men are always going to take up a little bit more space to feel comfortable. To answer Tan’s completely unempathetic question: “what could they possibly have between their legs that’s so important?”, it’s a simple answer: organs. There are organs.

Of course, there are going to be those guys who overdo and end up taking two whole seats, and if you happen to see one of these types be free to call them out on it. Though, if we are calling out people on taking up seats on the subway, how about we start cracking down on women putting their purses next to them on the seat next to them.

I’ll stop myself there so I don’t open up that can of worms.

Milk-Soaked Wood: My Ridiculous Quest to Denounce Weetbix

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Weetbix is the worst thing to happen to cereal since soy milk. If you have never interacted with an Aussie or Kiwi, you may have never heard of it. Like most staples of Australian cuisine such as Vegemite and Tim-Tams, Weetbix will make you question if Australians have functional taste buds.

Weetbix is a popular ‘breakfast cereal’ in the realm of Australia and New Zealand. The term ‘breakfast cereal’ is in quotes because it looks nothing like cereal. My first encounter with Weetbix was online. I was chatting with an Aussie in an online group voice channel when she casually mentioned she was going to grab some Weetbix for breakfast. I asked her what it was and she and the other Australian in the group tried to describe it for me. When I asked for a photo they showed me this.

In all honesty, I legitimately believed that I was looking at wood floating in a bowl of milk. They told me that what I was being shown was Weetbix. It was a solid bar of a compressed grain. I then felt it was my American duty to teach these foreigners about how their entire nation is delusional and they are eating scrap wood for breakfast.

This isn’t where the story ends, though. It was a month after the conversation when I was on a talk show with a content creator on YouTube. It was an open forum show, so what could be a more interesting topic than Australian cereal? I did my bit about how Weetbix looks like wood and how screwed up Aussies are, but it wasn’t until after my time to talk that I learned I had upset a lot of Aussies in the audience. 

After my time to speak, the host thought it best to talk to an Australian viewer. He came on and said that I made some good points, but corrected me on how it isn’t the main meal itself, rather something to have toppings added to like Cheerios. Which I guess makes sense, but it doesn’t change the fact that it looks like soggy sawdust when it gets completely soaked in milk.

If a moral had to be extracted for this story I guess it would have to be something along the lines of ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover,’ but my American stubbornness prohibits me from admitting fault. So until a kangaroo has me at gunpoint to force an alternative conclusion out of me, I say that American cereal is the best and Weetbix is a crime against grain-based products.

But everyone can agree that Vegemite is disgusting.