What is ‘Manspreading’ and Why are People Angry about It?


About three days after death, corpses really start to stink. After rigor and livor mortis, the body’s cells start to rupture–what’s commonly known as putrefaction. This horrific interstitial stage of decomposition is where the unhappy modern feminist movement currently finds itself: emitting noxious odours, but well on the way to decay and skeletonisation, long past the point where CPR would have any effect on the brain.

For feminism, skeletonisation cannot come soon enough. After the numerous and well-publicised feminist fiascoes of 2014, it has become clear to all but the most ideologically determined observers that the intersectional third-wave harpies who so dominate in the American and British media and to whom obeisance has been paid for many years have nothing left to fight for and no arguments left to win.

Witness the absurd, offensive, ludicrous spectacle of inanity and stupidity currently surrounding the New York subway: a campaign to stop men sitting comfortably on public transport. We “manspread,” apparently, which observers have interpreted as “sit in such a way as not to painfully crush the testicles or penis” but which feminists insist is an expression of patriarchal authority. You could not, as British newspaper columnists like to say, make this shit up.

One heroic social justice warrior took to the subway for a whole weekend, sitting as she imagines men do on the way to work. I have never seen a man sit quite as absurdly as she suggests, perhaps because I do not frequent public transport. But even in the dark bars of the London suburbs I trawled as a late teen looking for companionship, filled with desperate masculinity, I never saw such a comically absurd picture as this brave social justice warrior paints.

The manspreading complaint is couched as a response to “rudeness” by men, but it is no such thing: it is pathetic feminist pipsqueakery, the last dying gasp of a movement with nothing to win and nothing to say, determined to abuse and antagonise the male sex at all costs and for whatever perceived or outright imaginary infraction it can conjure from the vicissitudes of everyday life. It is offensively trivial, and those associated with it ought to be ashamed.

Such people include the author of a New York Times story on this otiose playground jihad against men, and the subway officials who endorsed a poster campaign warning men of the social anxiety caused by their choice of sitting position. Not a word about those shopping bags, or–the real irritant for me, on the rare occasion I take the Tube–stilettoes digging into the back of my heels and capacious handbags clogging the gangways.

Is it any wonder women these days complain of being alone? They mistake their own, self-induced isolation as the inevitable consequence of patriarchy, not realising that their generation has spent a decade doing everything possible to isolate and alienate men. There has been an understandably obnoxious response from men on this topic precisely because it is so trivial: it represents everything wrong with the prevailing feminised public consensus.

A survey last year revealed that fewer than one in five women now identifies herself as a feminist. Little wonder, and all our experiences confirm the fact. I asked my own mother a few days ago whether she was one and the response was positively volcanic. Feminism is a poisoned term. It is tainted; stained by the petty misandrist misdeeds of a thousand spoilt brats on the pages of the Guardian; an army of Jessica Valentis whinging about wrapping Christmas presents instead of objecting to the acid thrown in Indian women’s faces.

Feminism is dead: feminists killed it. Not for them the struggles of women in oppressed Middle Eastern countries: that’s too hard, too politically tricky, too real. No. What really matters is the shirt a hero scientist wears, or the perceived sexism of video game players, or the non-existent “rape culture” on American university campuses, or someone saying “Hello” in the street, or fake rape claims in Rolling Stone. This is pathetic. This is offensive. This must end.

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