“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.
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.
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.'”
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)?
‘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.
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.
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”?
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com