No, Manspreading is Not a Thing So Leave Paul Giamatti Alone

In general, our pals at Gothamist are doing the Lord’s work when it comes to pointing out the things that make living in New York City an existential circus.

But this obsession with “manspreading” on the site (not to mention the MTA’s current courtesy campaign) is getting out of hand. How insane has it gotten?


RELATED: Paul Giamatti’s 10 Memorable Supporting Roles

Yes, Brooklyn Heights neighbor and super-fantastic actor Paul Giamatti is being shamed for making himself comfortable on a number 4 train this morning.

Stop the madness!

Photo via Gothamist

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  • Tom77

    The term “manspreading” is yet another attempt to make men feel inferior for something they have no control over. If our feminist sisters had testicles, they’d realize that for men, squeezing their knees together while seated on a hard subway car bench causes us constriction and pain. I wonder how the term “hiphegemony” might be received if we men started using it to complain about the extra real estate often taken up by women with large and spreading hips seated next to us on the subway. Just sayin’…

  • StudioBrooklyn

    I am not crazy about the term either (rhetorically speaking it’s unnecessarily divisive) but statistically you do see more men doing this than women (both men and women do it, men do it more, okay?).

    The issue of whether or not men’s [supposedly enormous] genitalia require the knees to be placed a meter apart becomes quickly negated by the presence of other passengers requiring (or deserving) an adjacent seat. Also, if your claim was true, men would be unable to sit with their legs crossed knee-over-knee, and most men can do this comfortably without issue for extended periods.

    If you want to take issue with hip width, which cannot be adjusted with a simple movement according to social conscientiousness, you must also extend the argument to include anyone whose overall width extends whatever distance we’re calling one subway seat; in many of the older Kawasaki and Bombadier cars the orange and yellow seats are clearly distinguished while on the newer Kawasakis the blue benches accommodate more flexible numbers. There exist fat people of every sex, and by the way if someone is fat they’re also more likely to “manspread” on account of the built up material hanging down from the belly.

    This is not a feminist issue. It is an issue of common courtesy. Paul Giamatti is acquitted of all charges. Brooklyn Heights has spoken.

  • lauren

    Just because something may cause a person temporary discomfort, it does not entitle them to use more space than what the rules of common courtesy allow. The person who is manspreading may in turn be *causing* even greater distress to the elderly, pregnant or disabled passenger who truly needs a seat. Those who manspread show a lack of civility by either being oblivious or by simply not caring about others. If there is ample space on a train, it is not an issue– spread away! But, if there are other passengers, it is just good manners to be considerate. It’s the same reason why on a crowded train, I wouldn’t put my bag down on the seat next to me, but instead hold it on my lap.

  • Tom77

    It is incumbent upon every passenger, fat or skinny, male or female, to surrender their seat to the elderly, the pregnant and the evidently disabled (there are forms of disability such as medical frailty that are not evident). Unfortunately, this standard is often not always observed on the subway. What I do not agree with is the expectation that men should cross their legs (creating another problem by extending into the middle of the car) or squeeze them together as if holding a grapefruit between their knees. Men have more narrow hips and It is an unnatural position that cannot be maintained for long without great discomfort. Women have wider hips and can more easily hold their legs together with little effort. I totally agree that men who spread out as if they are doing a split are discourteous. 6 to 8 inches of space between the knees, however, is within the bounds of acceptability.