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 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.