How Social Media is Being Used to Put an End to the ‘Manspreading’ Epidemic

While the term “manspreading” may seem funny, it’s a become a serious problem for New York City and Chicago subway patrons.

Finding a seat — or even space for that matter — on metropolitan subway during rush hour is a challenge, to say the least. Manspreading, described as the intrusive habit mostly male passengers have of sprawling across two seats by parting their legs into a wide “V” shape, has only made matters worse, so much so that frustrated patrons have turned to social media to vent their frustrations and put guilty parties in the spotlight.

Their grievances have launched a social media grassroots campaign of sorts in order to raise awareness and promote what many feel are basic manners and common decency. While the efforts of anti-manspreading commuters were mostly confined to social media and personal blogs, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) as well as the Chicago Transportation Authority (CTA) are slated to launch official campaigns in order to give patrons a bit more wiggle room.

According to a report in the New York Times, the MTA is ready to launch a series of advertisements directed towards “manspreaders,” encouraging them to “share a little less of themselves.” One such advertisement urges male passengers by reading “Dude, stop the spread. It’s a space issue.”

Paul Fleuranges, a spokesman for the MTA told the New York Times that no small amount of effort or time was spent on ensuring the tone of advertisements was appropriate. They were fully aware the ads would most likely be subject to mocking, especially due to the inclusion of the word “dude.” Said Fleurange, “I had them add the dude part because I think ‘Dude, really?’”

The CTA is currently in the process of reviewing a slew of customer service calls and social media complaints, and is set to launch its anti-manspreading campaign in spring of next year.

“We are going to launch a campaign that talks about all the basic courtesies and etiquette,” said Brian Steele, a CTA spokesman.

Among the most vigilant anti-manspreading campaigners featured in the New York Times report are Kelley Rae O’Donnell and Jo Macaldo, both frequent subway patrons who post manspreading offenders on social media. Under one particular post, Macaldo wrote, “Guys, why do you do the #man-spread? Is it painful to keep your knees together? I’m really curious.”

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