How To Stop A Manspreader On A Plane In Three Easy Steps

Ladies, this is mainly for you, but guys, this actually could potentially help you, too, if you have a manspreader next to you while on a plane.

Manspreading. It’s been happening for eons, but only in the past couple of years did it get a name and even its own Wikipedia page. By definition, “manspreading” is, ‘the practice whereby a man adopts a sitting position with his legs wide apart, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat.’ Although manspreading can happen anywhere, it’s a behavior that’s commonly spotted on public transportation.

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Why people believe men (and occasionally women) spread is up for debate and hypotheses vary between simple pelvis shape (a man’s pelvis is narrower, which makes spreading more comfortable than keeping his knees closer together), a subconscious sense of wanting empowerment, and just wanting shall we say, to air things out, not squish things, or show things off. By the way, studies show that our subconscious reactions to manspreading vs. womanspreading are also very different. When males do it [especially when they spread, feet splayed outward and forearms leaning on their thighs], it’s seen as an attempt to look more powerful, manly or macho. For females, it’s considered rude and unladylike.

But whatever the case, when it’s done on a bus or subway, it’s easy enough for people to move or simply just not sit next to the spreader. In fact, some transit authorities have had ad campaigns to “stop the spread” on public transportation:

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La Empresa Municipal de Transportes (EMT), Madrid
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Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), New York City

But if it happens on a plane, the seat mates next to the offending spreader are the ones who have no choice but to grin and bear it.

Or do they?

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