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Men taking up space in society is more than just ‘manspreading’ | The Flow

Get back in your lane!


This previous summer, I came across an article from Refinery 29, telling the story of a woman, who spent her week refusing to move out the way of other men.

It hit a nerve as I realised how true the woman's hypothesis was: Men are so comfortable taking up space in the world that we women are literally being forced out of their way in many aspects of life.

The Fringe is where I first started noticing this, as my daily commute to work across the tourist-filled George IV Bridge became an uncomfortable reality. Men literally would not move out of my way. That's not to say I should automatically be given a clear path through massive crowds, however I was very obviously in a rush to work and had to squeeze past people who wouldn't move even if you screamed at them.

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I became so frustrated of having to walk in the road, frequently being forced into traffic by people refusing to move out of the path, I decided once the Fringe was over I'd stop moving out of the way of men.

It comes with a certain entitlement, that men probably don't have to think about someone moving out of their way, especially someone like me, a 5'4 woman. Instead, they'll take their time, meander down the street, stopping where they please, regardless of who might be needing to pass them or who they might force into traffic.

Enough was enough, and with the advice of a close male friend (either to look at my phone, or like I'm paying any attention) and a pair of very loud boots to announce that I was coming through, I no longer need to walk on the road as often.

Taking up space in society is not limited to this, however. We're all familiar with the act of "manspreading" and "mansplaining," when men insert themselves (literally in the case of the former, figuratively in the latter) into your business, spreading themselves past the imaginary line of your space, making it theirs. In both cases it's unnecessary.

You're also likely to let this slide in class, work, or in a meeting – all situations where men have unconsciously or consciously talked over you, yep, that's men taking up space in society again!

It's so frustrating sitting in a meeting waiting to share an idea that you're passionate about, only to have two guys at the back laughing and having their own conversation. Not only does it inhibit you from making your point, but it inhibits other people who can't listen to the rest of what you're saying. It's just obnoxious, really. Listen to people's ideas, I'm sure everyone will benefit from it.

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Now I know this does not apply to ALL guys, however, all of these points I'm making come from real experiences, and 90 per cent of the time it's men manspreading, talking over women, or refusing to move out of someone's way.

So ladies, start owning your space in society, and stop moving out of the way for guys.