Readers Respond: #Manspreading campaign labelled as 'man-hating'

2017-06-19 18:00 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - Etiquette rules on public transport have been up for debate, after Madrid recently banned Manspreading - with some readers saying a similar ban would not work in SA.  

AFP reported commuters on Madrid's buses have long been banned from putting their feet on seats or smoking, but from this week a new prohibition is in place, targeting male passengers: no "manspreading".

The practice of men sitting in public transport with their legs wide apart, taking up more than one seat, has long been an irritant and the term "manspreading" appeared in 2014 in New York following a campaign against it there.

The campaign #MadridSinManspreading ("Madrid Without Manspreading") has been raging on Twitter, launched by the "Women Fighting" feminist collective.

It called into question the difference between how males and females are taught to sit and its overall impact.

Locally public transport during is not fun at the best of times, let alone rush hour, and it brings a whole other side to it when you're faced with inconsiderate commuters who tend to not obey the rules or realise the way they sit can be offensive. 

According to the Change.org petition that brought about the ban in Madrid, "It's not a question of bad education but that we women have been taught to sit with our legs closed - as if we had to hold something between our knees," the collective writes in an online petition on Change.org that has garnered close to 700 signatures.

It adds that men, on the other hand, "have been given a sense of hierarchy and territoriality, as if the space belonged to them." 

We posed the question to find out if Manspreading was an issue locally - when you consider that some commuters find it hard to give up designated seats to the elderly or small children.

'Manspreading is a total non-issue' 

Thomas Vieira responded saying,"Manspreading is a total non-issue. If women had balls they wouldn't want to crush them either. If a guy is taking up multiple seats politely ask him to stop, and, nine times out of ten, he'll be polite in turn and stop." 

Another reader, Llawrence Luvalo wrote it would be a good idea to put it in place, but Luvalo doubted if it would "work on the taxis and trains" labeling most computers as "rude, who refuse to pay attention to those instructions".

Barry Vercueil however blames the sensitive anatomy of males for the manspreading issue, saying modern feminism has evolved into nothing more than "man-hating". 

Verculeil slated the idea as champagne problems, saying "We will stop spreading when women stop taking up space with their handbags on public transport." 

"Modern feminism has devolved into nothing more than man hating. It's become perfectly acceptable to take up none issues like man-splaining and Manspreading and treat men like dirt," says Vercueil. 

Vercueil states, "An anti-Manspreading campaign makes me so rebellious that I want manspread just to troll everyone who buys into this rubbish." 

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