Changing the world one hip rotation at a time...
Words by Millie Hurst
We all know about manspreading – the modern phenomenon that sees men spreading their legs out a bit too far, taking up too much room and showing us all too much crotch.
Everyone has witnessed it, and every woman has experienced its effects at least once – whether it’s awkward knee contact with a random guy on the bus or getting our personal space invaded by a manspreading commuter in a busy Central line carriage.
Whether it’s a display of dominance or just a comfy position, the manspreading habit has gone viral, with signs on New York subways asking men to ‘stop the spread’ and the term actually making its way into the online New Oxford Dictionary.
Manspreading is a bit of a kick in the teeth if we’re honest – especially when women are instructed from childhood to do completely the opposite. ‘Cross your legs’, ‘be more ladylike’ – essentially take up as little room as possible.
Now it looks like enough is enough, with hundreds of women taking to social media to reclaim their space, uploading snaps with their legs akimbo under the hashtag #womanspreading.
High profile names from Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski to Chrissy Teigen and Elsa Hosk have all got on board the movement, paving the way for the thousands of women uploading #womanspreading posts on social media.
The uploads range in their approach, with some fully embracing the ‘power stance’ and others making fun of the traditional manspreading position.
You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that this is the latest pointless trend, with about as much sticking power as thong jeans and feather eyebrows. However, in the post-Weinstein, #MeToo era, it can be seen as a powerful, physical demonstration of women’s frustration with the status quo.
We’re tired of sexual harassment and feeling pushed into a corner, but we’re continuing to own our space nevertheless. It’s like a slightly more accessible #freethenipple, if you will, and we’re all for it.
Clearly the majority of us won’t be going the whole hog and posting a photo of ourselves #womanspreading on instagram, but let’s take this opportunity to uncross our legs and sit however we find most comfortable – ignoring all echoes of teachers and relatives telling us to ‘Sit like a lady’.