SPREADING SCOURGE

Multi-award-winning cross-platform journalist and Walkley finalist Antoinette Lattouf warns of behavioural consequences:

The problem is so pervasive that manspreading is considered a crime in busy New York City.

Yes, a report on the New York Police Department’s attitudes towards race and class last year revealed two men were arrested for “manspreading” on the subway, “presumably because they were taking up more than one seat and therefore inconveniencing other riders”.

Meanwhile, authorities in San Francisco are looking at introducing fines of up to $500 to stop the scourge of “manspreading” on BART trains.

Lattouf isn’t into the whole research thing; the New York incident seems to be a single-source urban legend, while the proposed BART rule – currently shelved – refers specifically to passengers occupying seats with possessions, for which a first offender could be fined US$100.00.

Since it’s ABC News, academic opinion is required:

Sydney University Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies Elspeth Probyn said she sees plenty of “manspreading” in her lecture halls.

“I particularly have noticed men in class who sit fully open, leaning back and that is a position of power,” Professor Probyn told ABC News.

“In this context it’s about a female professor lecturing them. There are so many gendered issues around this stuff in different environments.”

Professor Probyn believes dominant body language might be attractive to some women but said it was “very annoying in public spaces …”.

“It can be about power – the ability to control space is really important and people would say, ‘Oh you are overreacting, its not power’. But the ability to take up someone else’s space is essentially about power.”

 Men’s abuse of women knows no bounds.

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