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Manspreading – The act of men spreading legs – particularly on a subway train – to create space for genitalia, which has come under fire by certain feminist-leaners who insist the practice takes up too much room on crowded trains. (Urban Dictionary)

The first confirmed cases of manspreading have arrived in Philadelphia.

SEPTA officials tell Billy Penn that over the last month customer service has fielded several complaints of “manspreading,” the practice of sitting on the subway and spreading your legs, thus, taking up at least two seats. The problem that started in New York City’s subway lines has made its way to Philly, probably via NJ transit.

“I didn’t even realize it was rude until you just it pointed out,” said Damien, a 22-year-old Broad Street line rider and, per Billy Penn‘s observation, a serial manspreader. “I guess I’ve just been kinda doing it all my life.”

The world was alerted to the growing concern when the New York Times astutely pointed out the trend. Experts with New York’s MTA say there’s no cure, but they’re attempting to stop the epidemic with a marketing remedy: They just announced they’re launching a campaign to curb the practice of manspreading.

SEPTA spokeswoman Kristen Geiger said the authority here has no such plans. But Geiger pointed out that SEPTA recently launched its “Dude, it’s rude” campaign, which is geared toward curbing behavior on buses, subways and trolleys that might offend or annoy other passengers.

So as a public service, Billy Penn will point out several instances of this noxious phenomenon, hopefully enlightening the city’s manspreaders until they can be properly quarantined.

Let’s start with a demonstration. I (a woman) was sitting on the El, when a gentleman rider of the Market-Frankford line sat next to me and (look, there’s no better way to say this) spread ’em. Here’s what happened: My legs were close together, so I only took up my allotted space. The alleged manspreader had his legs completely spread apart — one was in my space, and the other was in the aisle. See for yourself:

legs gif

Don’t let this happen to you.

Here are the other confirmed cases of manspreading:


And for good measure, it’s worth pointing out men aren’t the only ones who spread on SEPTA. It’s the women, too:

 Please alert Billy Penn to any other confirmed cases of manspreading.

Anna Orso was a reporter/curator at Billy Penn from 2014 to 2017.