Berlin — Two feminist activists in Berlin – Elena Buscaino and Mina Bonakdar – are on a mission to stamp out manspreading, and they do so by spreading their legs.
The two women go around on trains and suddenly spread their legs to men who insist on taking up more than one seat. When they spread their legs, a message can be seen on their trousers: “Stop spreading”.
Ever gotten a seat on the MRT only to find that the person next to you is guilty of manspreading?
What is manspreading, you ask? Well, manspreading is sitting with your legs wide apart on a bus or a train, taking up so much space that the person next to you has less space to sit.
The term “manspreading” was coined in 2013 when New York subway users began posting photos of male passengers spreading their legs, leaving less space for their neighbours.
The two women’s provocative stunt is part of a wider initiative called the Riot Pant Project featuring slogans printed on the inside legs of second-hand trousers.
This anti-manspreading campaign isn’t about wanting special treatment on the train, but more about expecting regular train etiquette from everyone, not just the women.
In Japan, with its rules of proper train etiquette, taking up more seating space than required was a top grouse of commuters, with 72.8 per cent of respondents considering it impolite.
In Japan, train seats aren’t designed to have extra room so excessive slouching, stretching and (man)spreading are discouraged as it eats into the space of your fellow commuter.
Bonakdar and Buscaino, both design students, came up with the idea as a way of helping women and LGBTQ people reclaim public spaces often dominated by men.
Besides “Stop spreading”, other slogans printed on the inside of trouser legs include “Give us space” and “Toxic masculinity” — which, can only be revealed when the wearer sits in such a way that shows their crotch. /TISGFollow us on Social Media
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