A Scourge Is Spreading. M.T.A.’s Cure? Dude, Close Your Legs.

It is the bane of many female subway riders, a practice with a name almost as off-putting as the act itself: manspreading. Now, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is targeting it with new ads.

Maybe a revival of hatpins will be in order, if a polite "excuse me" no longer suffices.

6 2019-01-16 11:29:44 - fairview

In 1967 I was jumping into a jeep outside the DaNang press compound, and there was a New York Times prima donna, ripe with the unspoken press hierarchy of the times, manspreading the entire backseat like royalty. He looked down upon me from a height unimaginable to a poor stringer. But I had to get to the war, and I was a Chicago boy so I knew how to deal with male presumptions of territoriality, a lesson learned in the streets and alleys and schoolyards. So I flew through the air and landed in his lap. Astonished that someone so inferior would be so bold, he demanded to know, "Who are you with?" "UPI," I said. Off to the war!

23 2018-03-25 13:21:11 - Neil Elliott

Nice try, but plenty of men manage to sit comfortably without manspreading.

6 2017-12-03 14:40:30 - CMR

My comment was a recommendation to easily offended people, which does not remotely arise to harassment by any reasonable standard.

1 2017-11-12 02:06:06 - Paul

In response to people wondering, "Why don't you just ask them to move their legs?" That encourages a culture where men unnecessarily taking up space is the norm and being courteous is a request one must ask of them. It seems like the wrong default mode.

Studies show when a guy catcalls a woman on the street and she responds, the harasser is most likely to respond with anger and violence. I can't help but feel like as a women there is some overlap in having to tell a man on the subway to move. For instance Mr. Hubbard profiled in the article, who would only move "for an older person or an attractive woman." So what happens when you ask him to move politely and you aren't what he considers attractive?

I also wonder if there's some linkage between "manspreaders" and "mansplainers," as both seem to be symptoms of a masculinized sense of entitlement.

People who say this shouldn't be a gender problem are about as obtuse as people saying #BlackLivesMatter should be #AllLivesMatter (as if #BlackLivesMatter implies they don't).

23 2017-11-08 01:26:07 - Bill

The MTA designers are really the people ot blame, for since they started to do away with the "Bench" type seating arrangement, back in the late 1970's this has always been a problem.. The only issue with the bench seating was that usually a woman would try to squeeze into a small little gap in the bench, thereby squishing the rest of the passengers. The MTA also failed to take into account that the weight has increased for most people(it's called 'obesity'), these seats are designed for a person who is 5'2", 120 lbs , not 5'11", 250 lbs!!! Those engineers at the MTA maybe experts at track design and installation, definitely not subway seat design.

7 2017-10-21 12:09:56 - lou andrews

So you're afraid to say "excuse me" to another man - or woman - who has more than one seat? I've done this several times during visits to NYC and had nary a problem.

9 2017-06-23 18:46:38 - DaveD

Not all men consider spreading their legs and airing their crotches to be "sitting like men".

4 2017-06-21 20:59:16 - JKF

This entire article cannot be serious. Men are definitely more likely to spread their legs to take up "two seats" on the subway. On the other hand, any man is likely to take up more than 1 seat on the subway no matter what he does because the seats are absurdly small, a fact that has been commented on before. While manners are good, I cannot believe that formal manners are expected on the subway. Observe the picture the times actually has in this article. While not boldly spread, the young lady in the seat to the right is also spreading her legs, which are neither crossed nor parallel and straight. Incidentally, she is has also expanded beyond the confines of her seat. The other gentlemen on the far left is not spreading is legs and the tiny seats cannot contain him. If if the leg spreader closed his legs tightly, the shoulder girth of both men would not leave much room for her. Certainly not for another grown man. This entire campaign is for only 50% of the population. I'd venture to guess that most women would not want to squeeze in between anyway except in a moment of sheer exhaustion. Is this an entire campaign with accompanying news story for the small slice of tiny, tired women in the population? Let's refocus: MTA designs the trains (seats to small), runs the schedule (trains to crowded), maintains the system (run too slow) and builds the ones (still waiting for the 2nd ave subway). Can we say "diversion"?

6 2017-06-16 09:01:45 - zanoni98
The A trains have the perpendicular seats and there is more standing room on them. The #2 & #3 trains have less standing room. But often it's hard to sit next to the perpendicular seat because of the people who bump me with their knees and move around a lot.
1 2017-05-30 00:32:01 - M. Lewis

I always offer my seat to pregnant women or women with babies, and I'm an over 60-year-old woman.

4 2017-05-26 04:39:03 - missmsry

Do you really not realize why the times picked that comment, out of probably hundreds, to put in their article?

1 2017-05-26 02:28:10 - Alan

The MTA needs to shame all space hogs, including those who lounge across three seats as if on their couch at home. And shame the passengers who use the adjacent seat for their bags and whatever else they carry.

One seat per customer. Period.

And children can stand if an older rider or pregnant woman needs a seat.

It all comes down to behaving mindfully in public places.

11 2017-05-22 20:44:30 - andrew

Almost makes me glad we are mass transit impaired down here.

14 2017-05-20 23:03:27 - missmsry

"...a sign of the dangerous gentrification of the city..."

Absurd. Nobody cares if a rider takes two seats when there are plenty of open ones; when the seats are full then you get the one you paid for - period. That's not gentrification - it's simple decent manners unless by your standards being a space hog should be considered the norm and taking up just what space is needed is something only upscale snobs care about.

6 2017-05-15 06:45:48 - SML

I don't see that happening much and I wonder if some people are just looking for something to complain about.

1 2017-05-10 20:21:47 - Paul Easton

Parents who didn't have manners. Schools that ignored a lack of manners. A generation of people without manners. We have become a nation of slobs.

29 2017-05-07 15:15:47 - Michael F

An excellent comment. I do have one thing I disagree with however.

Why should the schools be saddled with courtesy education? That's the parents' job!

2 2017-04-11 12:21:52 - B Dawson, the Furry Herbalist

The opposite *is* done, and the forums are popular. Where have you been?

4 2017-03-29 20:59:49 - Clem

Ummm if you had read the entire article you would have seen that the author DID ask men to move over so she could sit and THEY REFUSED!

So your 9/10 theory is blown. And it is chauvinistic to say that women, children, or the elderly DESERVE the spot more...we are talking about ALL of us looking to help each other out. I am a 65 y/o disabled woman yet I will readily give up my seat to ANYONE who looks beaten by the day....that look of "Oh god..now I have to stand?" Rather than stereotyping people try being more observant. Let's just help each other out.

If a man needs to be asked to only sit in one seat he will resist moving....otherwise he wouldn't be sitting au naturel to begin with.

4 2017-03-29 01:56:03 - Nuschler

Post to A Scourge Is Spreading. M.T.A.’s Cure? Dude, Close Your Legs. (login required)

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