For years, feminists have claimed that "manspreading" is the greatest scourge to face us in our time; it's a veritable epidemic facing patrons of public transportation, or any public seating arrangement where men are able to sit with their knees apart, thus occupying extra space.
Now, they're proposing turning a cold war against men's knees into a hot war, by engaging in "womanspreading" in response.
According to a writer in The Guardian, men are able to exert their patriarchy all over public seating because their parents never stressed a limit to their toxic masculinity by forcing them to keep their knees together when taking a rest. Women, however, have long been taught to keep our knees together or lock our ankles, so as to preserve a sense of modesty when we take a seated position in a skirt.
This has practical aspects of course: skirts don't exactly provide much coverage to the undercarriage, so to speak, and no one wants to see our underwear when we pop up from a chair or out of a car. But, little did we know that teaching women to keep their legs crossed is society's way of oppressing people of the female persuasion, subjecting them to submissive positions, and forcing them to abide by traditional gender norms so as to remind them of their second class situation.
And so, feminists say, it's time to womanspread. Where once women kept their knees together, we should spread them on all forms of public transportation. Stuck next to someone in an airport? Spread! Need a little extra room on the subway! Keep those knees apart!
For the past decade, I’ve been womanspreading everywhere – on television, on the tube and on my mum’s dining table. Naturally, I now wear trousers most of the time, and my only rule is to make sure I’m always aware of the people around me. As much as I want to make a point, I refuse to become like the entitled manspreaders who force women to contort themselves into tiny spaces. Unlike them, I only spread out if I have the space to do so.
The Guardian writer says she's had "mostly good" experiences, but that's likely because no one's noticed, or no one's cared. Manspreading is rude, but until it was pointed out relentlessly by third wave feminists, it's just a behavior most people either politely ignored, or (literally) pushed aside.
Now, in response, instead of simply handling a minor inconvenience, feminists say we should all just be rude. Now that's equality.