A Russian YouTuber is protesting against men that “manspread” on public transportation. Manspreading is defined as a sitting position men take, primarily on public transit, where they sit with their legs wide apart. Activists against manspreading believe that men assert the position to show dominance and power over others. A YouTuber, Anna Dovgalyuk, decided to protest against manspreading. She and her friends filled bottles with water and bleach. They dumped the bottles on men that sat spreadeagled on public transportation. The video has been viewed more than 1.3 million times since Anna uploaded the video yesterday.
In the video, Anna explains why she believes manspreading needs to be stopped. She says countries all over the world have taken a stand against manspreading. However, she says the issue is not well known in Russia. To spread awareness, she and friends decided to seek justice of their own.
The video follows women on subways. They are seen dumping water bottles on men sitting with their legs spread wide. All the men appear not to pay attention to space they take up and seem oblivious to people around them. As the women exit the subway, they dump the mix of bleach and water on the crotch of the men.
Naturally, the men get agitated and upset about having water dumped on their laps. However, the women believe they have accomplished their goal. Anna says the bleach leaves a stain in the fabric of the pants. The dye is evident to anyone that walks by and serves as a reminder to the men of their bad behavior.
The video has gotten mixed reviews since it was uploaded yesterday. Only 2,0oo people gave the video a thumbs up. Conversely, 41,000 have given the video a thumbs down. The comments on the thread take direct jabs at the approach the women make in their activism. One commenter Timi T said it best:
“This woman is the definition of an extremist; I don’t see anyway somebody could justify her behavior. Shame on the few media outlets that promoted this almost positively. Ironically, she’s greatly hurting the cause she’s fighting for. What a joke.”
While the video does bring light to an issue that exists in public transportation. The jury and science are still out on whether manspreading is a way for men to exert dominance and control. The Independent interviewed a spinal neurosurgeon John Sutcliffe about the phenomenon of manspreading. Sutcliffe gave a more practical reason for the manspreading. He told The Independent:
“The overall width of the pelvis is relatively greater in females, and the angle of the femoral neck is more acute. These factors could play a role in making a position of sitting with the knees close together less comfortable in men.”
He went on to say, “I suspect most men would suggest the reason for adopting the more spread posture in sitting would be the avoidance of testicular compression from the thigh muscles. The pelvic rotation goes some way to improve compression in both aspects.”
From a biological perspective, his reasoning does make sense. As a woman, I feel more comfortable sitting with my legs together. My desire to sit in this position has to do with my comfort not how others will perceive how I sit. I imagine many unassuming men take the same stance with manspreading.
Other research done on body posture has shown people that sit with more open body positions may feel more confident. Even Business Insider wrote an article on how to appear more confident. One of their suggestions was to sit and stand with your legs spread widely.
There is a real issue with space in public transportation. Numerous transportation authorities have taken a stance against manspreading. In 2014, the New York Public Transportation Authority released a poster to stop men from taking up extra space on public transportation. One of the signs said, “Dude…..Stop the Spread, Please.”
Additionally, buses in Madrid, Spain started hanging signs that said, “Don’t Spread Your Legs,” in 2017. The issue of manspreading is more an issue of courtesy to others around us. If we want men to sit without spreading their legs, perhaps a more appropriate method is to ask men to stop spreading their legs.
Watch the video below and tell us your thoughts on manspreading. Do you think Anna’s approach is helpful or hurtful to the movement?
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