The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA) plans to poll its riders about the practice of “manspreading” to see if the SFMTA should intervene and ban the practice. “Manspreading” occurs when men spread their legs wide while sitting on public transit, barring someone from sitting comfortably next to them.
The practice has come under fire in New York, where the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has begun affixing posters to remind men to keep their legs a normal distance apart. One poster reads, “Stop the spread, please. It’s a space issue.”
SFMTA media relations manager spokesperson Paul Rose told CBS San Francisco, “Since the stories have run nationwide, we have seen comments on social media edia and other ways, that people are concerned about man spreading.”
Feminist blogging sites have been targeting men who spread their legs wide–with a vengeance.
For example, on feministing.com, Mychal Denzel Smith wrote, “I see these guys all the time. Legs spread wide, taking up the space of three or four people, leaning against the train doors and blocking the entrance, stretched out so no one sit next to them. It all plays out like an assertion of male dominance, in which every one of them feels as if they have to claim their territory and their manhood in this public space, even at the discomfort of all the other passengers.”
Madeleine Davies, on jezebel.com: “One particularly obnoxious phenomenon of public transit comes in the form of a very specific type dude that transcends class, occupation, age and race–this is the dude who sits with his legs spread so far apart that he takes up multiple seats. And I’m here to say f*** you, dudes: there’s no way that your dick is so huge that it needs an entire bench to itself.”
Even Time got into the act: “But there is no worse, man-centric behavior than manspreading on the subway.…That’s why people hate this. It’s because men are saying that they don’t care about anyone else, and that is awful. They think that it is somehow manly, by claiming their territory. That is not manly. A real man is courteous and thinks of others and only takes as much as he is allowed. That’s what we need to tell our sons.”