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Women Have Had It With ‘ManSpreading’ On Flights As Man’s Sitting Position Goes Viral

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“Manspreading” on planes and other forms of public transportation has been the hot topic of discussion this past week. The issue was brought to light again from this recent Reddit post that went viral of a plane passenger being wedged into her seat as her seatmate’s leg inched its way into her legroom space. To clarify, the action of someone spreading their legs (many would say needlessly) in such a way that takes up the space of another person is often referred to as manspreading.

Under the username u/deilyk, she posted a picture on the subreddit “Mildly Infuriated” with the caption “At least it was a short flight”. The post quickly circulated and has seen almost two thousand comments so far, with other Redditors chiming in to share their own personal stories.

Mildly infuriated is right.

view of two legs on a plane wearing jeans and brown dress shoes, sitting in the middle aisle. the legs are spread to take up extra space.

Redditors Share Solutions & Other ‘Manspreading’ Stories

Some Redditors on the page shared their stories, thoughts, and even solutions to this occurrence that seems to happen all too often.

Whether it be their experiences of being next to passengers who use their shoulder as a travel pillow or thrust their leg out to invade a fellow travelers seat space, lots of people have something to say on the topic. And, it seems like the act of ‘manspreading’ isn’t limited to a particular gender.

A passenger seat in airplane cabin is set fasten belt and tray table in each seat for safety and convenience on flight

One Redditor, under the username Federal_Novel_9010, shared a story of a woman taking up too much space next to her on a flight from D.C. to New York: “Was on an Accela from DC to NYC and this woman next to me kept doing this. I would just shove her foot back over with mine.”

While many were swift to share personal accounts, others asked questions and provided some potential solutions to these kinds of problems when on a plane.

The Picture That Has Reddit Up In Arms

One Redditor suggested to just ask nicely, and then take action: “‘Could you move your foot please?’ If they don’t, then put your foot on top of their foot. If they wanna be in your space, they can deal with your feet.” Another user even suggested the following: “Use your words. ‘Excuse me, please move your foot.'”

Passengers on a plane

The Reddit post also showed that not everyone feels the need to take up extra space on a plane, even if they are larger in stature. This particular user shared their experience when traveling: “I’m a big dude and I suffer on airplanes because I put other people’s comfort before mine. I’ll turn my wide shoulders at the expense of my back being sore for days after.”

Others on the subreddit made similar comments, saying that they would not take up another passenger’s space and stay inside their allotted space.

So, is the action of manspreading the work of an ‘unruly passenger’, or, is it simply something that can be dealt with on a personal one-on-one basis on the ground (or up in the air)?

Young hipster tourist with Blue passport sitting next to window on plane

‘Manspreading’: A Modern History

The topic of manspreading was first thrust into our post-modern online world back in 2013 via Tumblr. OxfordDictionaries.com then added manspreading as an official word in 2015 and the term has been routinely used ever since. But, many who’ve personally observed and have been subjected to it can attest that this action has been around for much longer.

This video published in 2017 by The Cut outlines how manspreading actually dates back hundreds of years.

Interior view of a commercial airplane and its legroom in between seats.

The issue became so big that many cities in Europe officially banned the action on public transportation, including Madrid and Paris in 2017. In 2014, the U.S. cities of New York and Seattle issued poster campaigns on their public transportation system to encourage awareness and respect for fellow commuters.

While many would argue that the manspread is inevitable if someone is comparatively larger and would feel more comfortable spreading their legs out when sitting next to another person, there are ways to avoid it.

As some comments in the viral Reddit post noted – it’s not the size that matters, it’s what you do with it. Feeling entitled to take that extra space sometimes results in others being left in the dark, or in this particular case, nudged into your middle seat on a plane.

Profile view of a young man using computer on vehicle seat during his flight by plane.

Final Thoughts

As a traveler, what are your thoughts on the topic? Have you been subjected to it? Does having this topic up for debate mean that we’ve gone too far? Or, is this actually just the minimum that we as a collective society can do to remind people to “hey, please respect my space”?

Passengers on a plane

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Bryan

Monday 19th of September 2022

Ladies, stop bashing men.

Christian

Tuesday 13th of September 2022

Having lived in Japan for some time, I learned that in public spaces, being around other people, what comes first is "consideration". But I also learned that what comes second is "tolerance" and "understanding". In other words, people should always consider others when around them, but when others unintentionally infringe on your comfort, whether due to culture or being unaware (like falling asleep and the head falls on someone sitting next), then understanding and tolerance should be appreciated, instead of doing such things as embarrassing others or calling higher authority. After all, we should act like adults.

Timon

Tuesday 13th of September 2022

"toxic masculinity", now "manspreading" ...

feminism is truly a cancer that keeps reinventing itself.

billy

Monday 12th of September 2022

We got wars, famine, disease, lawlessness, riots, poverty and this what the blue check mark army is complaining about???

Suki Des

Monday 12th of September 2022

Noone cares lol. Reddit is fake and not real life.