ttc manspreading

"Manspreading" debate heats up in Toronto

You know that thing where you walk onto the subway, and some dude is slouched down into the seat with his knees two and a half feet apart, hogging all the space? It's got a name - the wonderfully descriptive "manspreading" - and people across the continent are sick of it, with multiple awareness campaigns urging riders to quit riding public transit crotch-first.

In New York, for example, the MTA has called out man-spreaders (among subway diners, backpack-wearers, and other undesirables) in a series of awareness posters; in Philadelphia, they're posting signs reading "Dude, it's rude ... Two seats - really?" The debate has spread (har) to Toronto, with calls for the TTC to follow suit mounting on Twitter and Reddit.

Local men's rights group CAFE has now, naturally, argued that the request is unfairly biased toward men, launching a petition to stop the TTC from targeting the practice. "This sets a very bad precedent as men opening their legs is something we have to do due to our biology. It sometimes can be physically painful for to close our legs and we can't be expected to do so," the group argues. (It's science.)

"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 petition continues. "Why should we force men to close their legs? This is sexism plain and simple and it cannot be passed." The petition is just shy of 1,000 signatures.

As for the TTC, they're being very hands-off about the whole thing: "Everybody that is riding the TTC is paying a fare, and if there's an empty seat, they should have the opportunity to occupy it," TTC spokesperson Milly Bernal told the Toronto Star. "Transit is public space. We're all sharing it. Just be kind."

Photo by Jeff Smith


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