Last month, I provided a story of (man)spreading on the subway. It's is a simple story about two people on a crowded train with different ‘preferences’ for personal space. But it leads us to a new understanding of the ways that even everyday gestures can trigger structural and systematic inequities.
The phenomenon of taking up too much room on the subway has gotten a lot of attention in the last few years under the label “manspreading.” But why does this spreading happen? And what does it have to do with men in particular? The answer starts with preferences for personal space.