It started in New York.

[Of course.  But betcha San Francisco ain’t far behind.]

The media, yes, from coast to coast, has glommed onto a phenomenon known as “manspreading,” where men take up more than their fair share of seats with legs opened in a V-shape.  Public campaigns are now being waged in Manhattan via subway posters and publicity.  The tag?  “Dude, really” with a Courtesy Counts banner.

News reports and editorials make light of the practice, even though many females are outraged – and snapping pix to share on social media.  A Philadelphia spokesperson for a similar campaign denies it’s an endemic practice (though we in the Polar Vortex city claim otherwise). 

What will be fascinating, if metrics are included, is to see the behavior change and the numbers.  Visuals and media coverage notwithstanding, we guarantee that it’ll take more than an ad/PR war to confine the offending males to one seat. 

Ask change experts: 

  • Train a gaggle of key spokespeople to hop on and off trains and (nicely) confront the manspreaders. 
  • Give subway conductors a few public announcements to voice at every stop (until all 8-something million New Yorkers get the message). 
  • Con native celebrities to film a few PSAs … for social media, in taxis, on the Web.
  • Tag it to the cause of sustainability – and making sure everyone has a fair ride.

Is rider etiquette all that important?  Change starts small …