This is what men's rights activists get mad about. Is it the constant killing of black men and boys by police? Nope. Haven't heard a peep out of them about that.
No, what they're upset about is being asked not to take up more than their fair share of space on public transit.
No seriously, these dudes actually started a Change.org petition to try and stop the Canadian transit system from posting signs asking men to stop sitting like this:
|Image courtesy of Feminist Current|
Like, that's all their asking. Sit like a normal human being, please.
But that's just too much for MRAs to bear, apparently. Here's the opening paragraph to their petition:
Various people are looking to get the TTC to ban something they call "man spreading" which is a sexist term, and is the simple act of opening your legs. There are a lot more things taking up seats on busses [sic] than men opening their legs, such as purses, strollers, back packs and the like.
This in an of itself does a fantastic job of illustrating how the mind of an MRA works. They're super overdramatic and exaggerate shit all the time. Nobody is "banning" manspread. You won't be arrested or fined for sitting like a jackass. They're just putting up signs saying "hey remember that other people exist besides you please."
Secondly, even though they're constantly and unapologetically using sexist terms and cannot seem to fathom how men taking up way too much space on public transit is rooted in sexism, the second someone comes up with a term that singles out behavior that everyone can agree is mostly committed by men, they're up in arms about REVERSE SEXISM AND MISANDRY.
Then there's the last sentence. Other things take up space on transit. And it couldn't possibly occur to them why any of those things are not the same as taking up space with your own body.
Firstly, strollers??? Really?? You're going to say that taking on a necessary baby-transporting device is just as discourteous as manspreading? Really?
With purses, backpacks, grocery bags, etc., all genders take up extra seats with personal items. I tend to see men doing it much more often than anyone else, but most everyone can at least agree that it's not a gendered kind of rudeness. The spreading of the legs is.
And it also speaks to how clueless MRAs are about what women have to deal with whenever they're in public. Pretty much any woman will tell you that taking public transit is a worrisome affair, because of men. Who among us women hasn't had a man sit right next to her when there are a shit ton of empty seats next to nobody? Or had some dude try to chat her up while she's reading a book or has headphones on, because they feel entitled to ignore our clear "don't talk to me" signals? Or had a guy somehow manage to place his hand on his thigh and spread his legs out enough so that his fucking creepy ass hand is touching our leg?
We are constantly on the look out for creeps while in public and we do what we have to do to avoid this behavior, which we all know could turn violent if we responded in a way he didn't like. Putting bags on the seat next to us is one of those things. We do it because we don't want strange men to sit next to us. It's for our personal safety. I've heard woman after woman say that she does exactly this, but moves said bag when a woman gets on because another woman is extremely unlikely to creep on her. I do this. I'll move my bag for women or young children, but dudes can fucking stand. If you have a problem with it, guys, talk to the creeps.
There is literally no good reason to sit with your legs spread out like a fucking asshole except for personal comfort at the expense of others.
Oh, well, of course, there's cissexism.
This sets a very bad precedent as men opening their legs is something we have to do due to our biology. It sometimes can be physically painful for to close our legs and we can't be expected to do so.
OH GOOD LORD THE BALLS. CIS MEN HAVE THEIR BALLS TO THINK OF.
Not that it's surprising or anything, but MRAs constantly forget than trans, non-binary, and intersex people exist.
But what any of these individuals, as well as men who are not fucking assholes, will tell you is that people with testicles and penises can sit normally, with their legs straight out in front of them, taking up one single seat, without pain. In fact, MRAs, if you experience significant pain while doing so, please see a doctor as soon as possible.
Seriously, talk about exaggeration and playing the victim.
Women have to deal with creeps demanding our attention, deliberately touching us, following us off the bus, becoming verbally or physically violent when we ask them to stop, but "please don't sit like an asshole" is male oppression. People with breastfeeding babies have to deal with people staring and freaking out when they do it in public, people with disabilities have to deal with slow and often inadequate accommodations, but this? This is going too far:
Life must be so tough for the cis men.