“Men Taking Up Too Much Space On Public Transit?” You’re Claiming Privilege For The Wrong Gender

So the latest 100% Serious Example Of How Something Innocuous Is Really RapeTM is sitting on the bus. No, really.

It turns out that men tend to sit comfortably with their legs spread in public spaces, while women shrink and cower into the corner in an odd nesting procedure. Take this article, which comes handy with an infographic detailing the ways in which men and women differ in their public transit seating desires.

Feminist groups [1] have recently been demanding that men stop this and sit with their legs closed, as to splay all willy-nilly is sheer “entitlement.” As self-important and fiercely-browed polyscribe Jenny Block argues, spreading your legs on public transit is not a personal act, but is political:

This is about men and privilege and how they generally act as if the world is theirs to use and take up as they see fit.

She then follows her claimed distaste for such “entitlement” with her own grubstake:

The thing is, that leaves women clawing for scraps, when 50% of the goods, including space, is rightfully ours. I may only be 5’ tall and 100 pounds soaking wet. But that doesn’t make me entitled to any less space in the public sphere.

I like her piece, because it cuts right to the heart of her hypocrisy instead of burying it in a fusillade of snark like most Internet feminist bullshit.[2]

This is not an example of male privilege. It’s an example of female privilege. The entire issue with taking up public space is women demanding complete immunity from having any bodily contact with strangers, a “right” of corporal autonomy men don’t feel entitled to assert.[3] Don’t believe me? Look at the picture again. She’s using the window seat as a barrier to contact – armrest on one side, no possibility of interaction on the other – and hiding in the far corner as if protected by a moat. Or read Ms. Block’s self-described “solution” to the dastardly mancroachment:

So, I board the plane as early as I can. I plant my feet wide. I park my elbows firmly on the armrests. Sometimes I even stand my computer up on its end so that if any body part attempts to infringe, said body part will be smashed against my MacBook instead of against me.

“Instead of against me.” Block is explicitly trying to take possession of the public space she feels entitled to, instead of merely occupying and interacting with that space. Men spreading their legs accept the possibility of physical interaction with others who may temporarily contact them through simultaneous occupation of the shared space. That’s not an act of entitlement, it’s an act of acknowledgment. The women attempting to shame this behavior, on the other hand, seek to minimize the possibility of shared contact completely. They demand to own the common space.

Where outright ownership is not possible, Block puts up defenses: where she might be touched, she tries to make it physically uncomfortable for the other person. “I park my elbows firmly on the armrests.” For all their glorious Tumblr’d captures of men taking up space, the Legs Closed Brigade has shown no evidence of men refusing to cede the public space to another, nor any of men actively discouraging body contact – two themes of aggression that thoroughly permeate Block’s intentions.

There’s only one example of entitlement on display here, and the women screaming it would see it more clearly with a mirror than a shaky cell phone camera and a Tumblr feed.

[1] As if I even need to mention the source; seriously, who else would take up a cause so utterly retarded?

[2] Hi Jezebel!

[3] Which, of course, must also be the fault of the patriarchy.