And another thing

On the train on the way home I was “photographed and shamed” for manspreading.

For those of you living in blissful ignorance, “manspreading” is the act of sitting in a train seat with your knees and feet slightly apart.

In my defence, there were dozens of empty seats on the train, nobody was trying to sit beside me, and I was actually in the Priority Seat, and had only got it in the first place by asking the woman sitting in it before me to shift her shopping bag full of Cava bottles (I wish I was making this up). I was also sitting with my knees apart because I had a freshly-dislocated hip and there was something terribly wrong with my patella. I’d tried to make up for this by sticking my suitcase under my seat and holding my cane to the centre of my chest, so it didn’t take up too much more room.

But, lo, I had my photo taken and was resoundingly told off for shoving my social dominance in the faces of the oppressed women on the train. The two who took my photo seemed terribly frightened of me, anyway, with the way that they did their best to loom over me and shout me down as I tried to explain that I was very ill and not in much control of my body at the moment. They were definitely the ones who were at a social disadvantage, being well-off, able-bodied, cisgender, and in greater numbers than me. Poor frightened darlings.

I should be ashamed!


9 thoughts on “And another thing

  1. Bloomin heck, if there is any shaming to be done, I know where the accusing finger should be pointed. I can’t believe that. Truly incomprehensible.

    I can’t begin to describe how angry I feel. So I won’t even try! But you get my drift.

    • The further I get from the epicentre of this migraine, the more annoyed and horrified I get by this encounter.

      The worst part is that they think they were doing a Good Deed.

  2. This sounds much like “Verschlimmbesserung”. This splendid German word apparently means “A supposed improvement that makes things worse”.

    I feel there’s a publishable piece here Percy – maybe the Guardian? Depends how often you want to relive it I guess, but there’s a deep and hideous irony in what happened to you that deserves an even wider audience.


    • I wish it was a less controversial, and less common irony; There’s a certain movement within third-wave feminism that seems to think that this sort of thing is fine.

      I love the word verschlimmbesserung though πŸ˜€ Extremely apt.

  3. I don’t know what third-wave feminism is but I do know that two wrongs don’t make a right.

    However, I was rather chuffed to find that word, and I had a gut feel that you’d like it. πŸ˜‰

    Remember if anyone names and shames you, they are the ones who should be ashamed of themselves, and I for one would be quite willing to point that out.

  4. I find taking pictures of strangers to highlight some social flaw be it spread legs, unshaven armpits, large facial moles etc to be bullying. I don’t mind being papped for my tattoos but if it was because I’m walking with a stick or am covered I physio tape I’d get heartily annoyed

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