We thought they were just massive assholes completely unaware of their privilege/the patriarchy/other humans on public transportation. We thought they just had inflated ideas of their genitalia. But no.
They were just saving room for cats.
This revelation has been fully documented in the photo essay, Saving Room For Cats. Anonymous photographers have been correcting the stigma against men leaving gargantuan spaces between their knees while others are forced to stand on trains and buses. This brave new work painstakingly illustrates how wrong feminists have been to call out bros (and others*) for taking up space that has been presumed (up to this point) to not belong to them.
This cat is bravely facing stigma in order to save room for yet another cat.
I feel so ashamed.
*Not all men save room for cats on trains. Only the best kind.
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A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.
A.E. has written 543 articles for us.
After a particular gross “male privilege taking up my personal space on a half-empty bus” experience this weekend, this really lightened things up for me!
I was JUST talking about this with my coworker this morning. A guy was clearly not aware that I am allowed the same amount of space on the train as he is. The next time it happens, I’ll just put my cat in his lap. I don’t have a cat, but I will get one just for this purpose.
How do you know that these are men?
Read: “and others”
Laughing so hard I’m crying in the middle of the Chicago O’Hare airport this is beautiful
I’ve seen many female identified beings do the same thing.
Yes, but when we do it, it about reclaiming space that we are told by society that we shouldn’t have.
I take up a lot of space with my legs spread because it’s comfortable. I can’t run around worrying about what society thinks for me all the time.
I always manage to sit next to the person that thinks its okay to take up 10 yards of space while I have squeeze into the corner. I’ll politely ask them to scoot but if that doesn’t work (and it rarely does)my favorite thing to do now is to either call someone, or pretend i’m on blue-tooth and go “Hold on a sec, I have to get up. There is a person next to me with no concept of common decency.” really loudly.
Also, the trying to be a better non cis ally in me says that we shouldn’t assume genitalia.
“vapid fluff” is my new favourite category. The world needs more vapid fluff.
Ali you totally rock my world!
So happy that there’s now an official ‘vapid fluff’ category.
I miss living in a place where I felt safe enough to fight back by stretching out just as obnoxiously until the guy who was crowding me felt shamed into scooting over. Not just because it’s frustrating to keep still now, but also because it was always really funny how surprised they were :P
Does this mean all the women who think their clutch or handbag deserves an extra seat, or spread their shopping around and get pissy when someone asks to sit down (including old ladies or pregnant women) just have cats inside those bags?
hey you brand new member who just made this account 4 hours ago and have this as your first and only comment… good job on naming your account “princess” so we def don’t think you’re a dude
I put my bags in the seat next to me to avoid being approached by a random dudebro/creepy man. Not because I think my purse needs its own seat, but because if there is not a literal physical barrier my personal space will be invaded by a stranger.
Okay I admit I made this account solely to point out that men do this because of like, biological reasons:
1. Men’s hips are set differently, so it’s more natural and comfortable to sit with legs open like that.
2. Men have testicles, and that comes with different levels of comfort when sitting in different ways also.
3. Also just say “excuse me” if you need space. Most will be happy to do so.
First of all, there’s a difference between sitting with legs set a little apart and having them splayed out widely.
Secondly you are missing the very crucial point that sometimes men do these kinds of things with the *intent* of violating women’s space. I was holding a vertical wall rail on the subway in NYC where this dude gradually slid his hand down the pole until it was resting on mine. I shouldn’t have to say, “Excuse me, please don’t touch me without my permission,” and in fact, I didn’t feel safe to do so.
Here in Japan, the seating area on the subway is like a long couch. And I’m always impressed to see that every ‘couch’ holds exactly seven people, and everyone takes up the exact same amount of space, because everyone is trained since childhood to sit on the train with their bag and their hands in their lap. So yes, it is perfectly possible. (although there are still sometimes groping problems when the train gets crowded, unfortunately).
thank you for mansplaining this to me
Oh please. While a sizable minority of men engage in this rude and irritating behavior, most manage to sit with their legs together like everyone else. Men do not need to sit with their legs spread all the way apart. Also, you shouldn’t have to ask people to be polite, it should be a given. If there are people standing and you are taking up twice the amount of space you actually need, you are being rude.
1. It is comfortable for everyone to sit with their legs apart regardless of your pelvic bone structure – women are just raised to be aware of their surroundings and to be considerate to the people they share public space with. See also the phenomenon of women moving their chairs forward in a cafeteria to let someone by while men lounge on oblivious.
2. Unless you have a severe medical problem, no testicles are so big as to require that much space.
3. How do you know most people will be happy to move and not ignore you or get aggressive? Have you actual experience of asking men to close their legs so you can have more room or are you assuming based on what you would do?
As a trans woman, I can only say “no.” Just…no. Your balls are not that big. Period.
I have started to consciously press up close to men who do this when I have to sit next to them to try and body language pressure them into making room for me, but it is super uncomfortable having to have prolonged bodily contact with strangers to make a small passive aggressive point.
I could just say something i guess but…English.
If anyone is taking up more space than they should, ask and/or make room. I have no problem shuffling over to even out my leg space. If they get hostile, leave and report them. Don’t just do nothing and complain.
Do the same to me if I’m not paying attention, because I frequently sit legs splayed to fit the space I’m given.
All people do this, not just white males or bros. I’ve seen an awful lot of queer folk do the same.
The photo is bad too…looks like the space next to the guy is empty so he isn’t depriving anyone of space.
Not hating…but this site used to be a lot better than thin excuses to bash white male privilege masquerading as articles.
I’m not a dude but I sit with my legs apart because that’s what my legs do when I sit down. Forgive me for having my mind on something other than the needs of others for the length of a train ride and just say excuse me. I’ll move I promise.
My older brother did this at a funeral last week. He has been doing it so long he doesn’t even realize that he does it anymore. When my mother said something to him, he just huffed that he was sitting his normal way, because that is how he sits, and he is right. Been doing it for years.
When I encounter this type of person in public, and I have no choice but to sit next to them, I will sit as close to them as possible. What I have found is that they don’t like being crowded and will quickly scoot over!