One student experienced an “unpleasant reaction” to her prize-winning chair that was designed to stop the “manspreading.” If you’ve ever taken a crowded trains, tube, or bus journey, you’ve probably experienced – or at least been witness to – an incident of manspreading. Defined by Oxford Dictionaries as “the practice whereby a man, especially one traveling on public transport, adopts a sitting position with his legs wide apart, in such a way as to encroach on an adjacent seat or seats,” manspreading has become a common turn of phrase among frustrated commuters. This is what prompted a so-called designer to create the anti-manspreading chair, but once you see the chair, you’ll realize it’s the most useless, pointless, stupid thing ever created. It is 110% absolute garbage.
THIS video talking about the anti-manspreading chair is hilarious:
And just think – this chair won an award! After experiencing the problem firsthand, University of Brighton design student Laila Laurel decided to use her design skills to shine a light on the behavior – by designing an anti-manspreading chair.
She says that she decided to conduct some observations of her own after reading about women’s experiences with manspreading around the world via Laura Bates’ Everyday Sexism Project.
“I decided to spend an hour riding train on Southern Rail between Brighton and Portslade – a journey I make frequently for my commute to and from work – walking up and down the train to see if I could find any examples of men ‘man-spreading’ and encroaching onto women’s space first-hand,” she writes on her website.
She won a top award for the seat made so men can sit with their legs closed. But since winning the award, she has said: “I have received a lot of explicit messages from men who seem to be under the impression that I hate all men.” Many social media users suggested that the problem was not one of sexism, as women too can be inconsiderate in public spaces.
Others thought it was unjust to be physically forced to sit in a certain way, describing it as a form of shaming. The University of Brighton student has reportedly said this “couldn’t be further from the truth frankly”.
The designs by Ms. Laurel won the Belmond Award at New Designers in London, a key showcase of the work of universities in the UK. The 23-year-old declared that the feedback from those who were using the chairs was “brilliant and interesting.” She also crafted a second chair for women that encourage those sitting to move their legs apart.
“I don’t take myself too seriously, because I really want my work to be both important and thought-provoking, while also being engaging and funny. “I think humor is a really interesting tool in order to tackle social issues.”
She mentioned that part of her inspiration came from “The Everyday Sexism Project,” founded by Laura Bates, which captures women’s everyday experiences with gender inequality.
The award for Ms. Laurel includes a £1,000 scholarship and the opportunity to design a product for a hotel and leisure company. She stated that the chairs were “more of a concept and not necessarily a functional design”, but declared that she was encouraged that the judges “like the feminist slant on design.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: I could not stop laughing at the video review of the chair video above. It was truly amazing and hilarious, unlike the chair.