Man-spreading: It's a thing. But depending on who you ask, it's either an awful display of male privilege or a biological necessity.
Transportation authorities, at least, seem to be erring on the side of public nuisance, with New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority planning to roll out a courtesy campaign in January that will target man-spreaders. Now it looks like Toronto plans to follow suit. And Canadian men's rights activists are mad as hell about it.
In response to anti-man-spreading legislation, the somewhat deceptively named (according to some) Canadian Association for Equality has started an online petition protesting Toronto's proposed ban, arguing reverse sexism, of course. "We can't force woman to stop breast feeding on buses or trains and we can't force them to stop bringing strollers on," the petitioners claim. "Why should we force men to close their legs? This is sexism, plain and simple, and it cannot be passed."
The petition has around 900 supporters as of Monday afternoon, many of whom have volunteered their own reasons as to why the man-spreading ban is unfair. Here is a sampling:
As someone who has testicles, that shit sticks to your legs like fucking superglue.
Men have a high center of gravity, broad shoulders and narrow hips. Because of this, we'll tip over if we sit with our legs together.
You see, there's these things men have called testicles, and they take up physical space, and it is very unhealthy if they are squeezed and brought up to full body temperature. It can cause cancer and sterility in the long term.
I'm signing because guys need to "manspread" to be able to sit comfortably. It's a legit thing.
For men, closing our legs is biologically a hindrance.
Because I got balls to take care of.
There's all kinds of annoying behavior out there. I absolutely hate it when people chew with their mouths open, but I don't want to ban it.
I'm signing because I hate to think of all those poor men suffering from the pain of not spreading their legs.
I wouldn't tell a fat chick to not sit down cause she's too fat.
It is not our fault that our hips are the way they are, or the fact that we have testicles that, when squished, not only cause pain but can also overheat them which can hurt sperm production.
The idea that men cannot have the right to space between their legs for genitals of varying sizes is just completely abhorrent.
It's uncomfortable to sit with our legs closed because it crushes our balls, man.
It is a basic human right to have non-squished genitals.
But seriously, bros, it's not about biology. It's about a complete lack of courtesy. As Mic's Derrick Clifton put it, the issue "reflects a world where the experiences and bodies of men take center stage — literally — and where most men will place their own comfort above the needs of others, including women."
Jezebel's Mark Shrayber, a self-proclaimed "proud owner of a pair," buttressed this sentiment, saying, "Unless one is suffering from some kind of condition, most men can, in fact, keep their legs closed and even cross them ... constricting the testicles and yet keeping them totally safe! That's why you don't hear about testicle injuries that much: It's not misandry, it's just that it doesn't happen."
So let's scrap the hysteria over potential ball damage and acknowledge man-spreading for what it really is: disrespect.