|Big Sister Is Watching You|
It is the bane of many female subway riders. It is a scourge tracked on blogs and on Twitter. And it has a name almost as distasteful as the practice itself. It is manspreading, the lay-it-all-out sitting style that more than a few men see as their inalienable underground right. Now passengers who consider such inelegant male posture as infringing on their sensibilities — not to mention their share of subway space — have a new ally: the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Taking on manspreading for the first time, the authority is set to unveil public service ads that encourage men to share a little less of themselves in the city’s ever-crowded subways cars. The targets of the campaign, those men who spread their legs wide, into a sort of V-shaped slouch, effectively occupying two, sometimes even three, seats are not hard to find. Whether they will heed the new ads is another question. Riding the F train from Brooklyn to Manhattan on a recent afternoon, Fabio Panceiro, 20, was unapologetic about sitting with his legs spread apart. “I’m not going to cross my legs like ladies do,” he said. “I’m going to sit how I want to sit.” And what if Mr. Panceiro, an administrative assistant from Los Angeles, saw posters on the train asking him to close his legs? “I’d just laugh at the ad and hope that someone graffitis over it,” he said.
For Kelley Rae O’Donnell, an actress who confronts manspreaders and tweets photos of them, her solitary shaming campaign now has the high-powered help of the transportation authority, whose ads will be plastered inside subway cars. “It drives me crazy,” she said of men who spread their legs. “I find myself glaring at them because it just seems so inconsiderate in this really crowded city.” When Ms. O’Donnell, who lives in Brooklyn and is in her 30s, asks men to move, she said, they rarely seem chastened: “I usually get grumbling or a complete refusal.”
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