What the ‘Manspreading’ issue tells us about Modern Feminism

MANSPREADING: the practice of sitting on public transport with legs wide apart, thereby covering more than one seat.

In recent months, feminist lead issue of “manspreading” has taken social media by storm, and has gained so much traction that some transit authorities have even started campaigns to curb the practice.
Philadelphia has signs on its transit system that read “Dude it’s rude . . . Two seats — really?”, while New York’s MTA has an ad campaign with signs that read “Dude . . . Stop the Spread, Please. It’s a space issue.”
Although most would only have heard of this campaign fairly recently, it is far from a new campaign.

For years, radical feminists have been trying to convince people that men on public transit who sit with their legs apart are “threatening” and “rapey”. They claimed that this behaviour was “triggering”, and made women feel “unsafe”.
Naturally this was unsuccessful, most women are not so gullible as to believe that any man who sits with his knees apart is a rapist, so such claims were simply ignored.
Some time ago, I mentioned this to my girlfriend as we rode on a city bus, her reaction was priceless.
She told me that, although she had never heard of this particular initiative, she was angry at feminists for making her feel afraid of men. That feminism had given her a sense of insecurity around males for decades.
She placed the responsibility for decades of anxiety she had felt in perfectly safe situations squarely at the feet of feminism.
Of course, being a reasonable, rational human being, she would never endorse a campaign to make men sit knees together in order to make her feel more comfortable, that would be silly.
And thus, the radical feminist campaign failed, and descended into mockery.

Ahh, but those RadFem’s are a tenacious lot, and they weren’t about to give it up entirely.
Rather than abandon it altogether, they just switched to a new tactic. It’s not about men appearing “rapey” anymore , now it’s a space issue.
Enter ‘manspreading’.

Anyone who rides transit with any regularity knows how annoying it is when someone takes up two seats on a crowded bus or streetcar. We’ve all seen it.
A campaign to discourage people who take up more space than they have to seems reasonable, welcome even.
But quite frankly, anyone who’s paying attention knows full well it’s not just men who are the culprits. And make no mistake about it, this campaign is directed purely at men.

But it’s what this campaign can tell us about modern feminism that I find particularly interesting.
People who view feminism with a critical eye will consistently be told one or more of the following claims about what feminism is about:

-‘Feminism is about gender equality’
-‘Feminism is not about female supremacy’
-‘Feminism is about addressing issues faced by women by virtue of their gender’
-‘Feminism is not about controlling male behaviour, it’s about protecting women’

However, the ‘manspreading’ issue proves that this is not in fact true.
How can one claim that this issue is about gender equality when it quite clearly targets one gender and ignores the same behaviour in the other? And how can one claim that women are the primary victims, without also claiming that women are more deserving of a seat?

The fact that mainstream feminism has embraced the issue of ‘manspreading’ offers us irrefutable proof that modern feminism is about marginalizing men, or at very least about controlling male behaviour for no real reason.

Men are not the primary culprits, and it does not disproportionately affect women… men like to sit down too.
‘Manspreading’ is only a gendered issue to further the feminist led war of the sexes.

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