Menspreading is a man’s habit of sitting with his legs spread wide apart, embarrassing the other passengers. Sometimes men sit in such a way that it is cramped and uncomfortable for their neighbors on both the right and left. The term manspreading first appeared in a 1915 public service announcement about behavior on public transportation, and in 2015 it appeared in the online version of the Oxford Dictionary.
Of course, everyone wonders what causes this specific behavior. Vladimir Feinzilberg, a member of the European and Russian Professional Psychotherapeutic League, said in an interview with Channel 360: “I think that on the one hand it is an anatomical feature. On the other hand, there is a stereotype of male behavior. It is an innate quality that demonstrates masculinity – gender identity, or even sexual superiority. It is not such an attractive pose. It demonstrates disregard and superiority toward others. And, since we are talking about public transportation, a large man sitting like this takes up more space than he should.
Many countries have public service announcements urging people to sit differently. In Spain, a new sign on buses has been announced. It shows a man with his legs spread wide and crossed with a red cross. In the New York subway there used to be posters condemning such male behavior. Similar ads were posted in other states and cities in America, such as Pennsylvania and Washington State’s largest city, Seattle. Fighting mensprejudice through posters and other social advertising is usually done by groups of women.
Condemnation of menspreading is often criticized. Women also often occupy more than one place, for example, putting bags or bags not on the floor, but next to them. But there is no term for womenspreading, even the opposite. It is possible to explain the behavior of people of either gender by innate psychological qualities, but this will not make it any easier. Although “grabbing” more seats than necessary is not male or female behavior, it is a general human indiscretion.