Is there a gender neutral equivalent of “manspreading”?

Who knew that the term manspreading is considered deeply sexist? I didn’t

A nameless user proposed to delete the term from an answer of mine. His explanation was “remove misandry”. I had written

[someone] who spreads their legs and invades your space (AKA manspreading)

The comment got me thinking. At first, I was quite flabbergasted and speechless. Agreed, the term is not complimentary, but I had considered it mainly to be a humorous term that was basically stating a truth. Men often do sit with their legs apart. It can show swagger, confidence, and suggest dominance. It can be due to their height, the taller the man, the more difficult it is for him to close his legs when seated in public transport.

That’s what I thought

But according to one spinal neurosurgeon, John Sutcliffe, the reason is two-fold

“The overall width of the pelvis is relatively greater in females and the angle of the femoral neck is more acute. These factors could play a role in making a position of sitting with the knees close together less comfortable in men,” he told The Independent.


“I suspect most men would suggest the reason for adopting the more spread posture in sitting would be the avoidance of testicular compression from the thigh muscles. The pelvic rotation goes some way to improve compression in both aspects,” Sutcliffe continued.

The Independent

I suppose that makes sense. The phenomenon is dictated by physiological differences that are inherent in men and women’s bodies.

I turned to Wikipedia. It confirmed the user’s standpoint, and why he suggested its removal

Both this posture and the use of the neologism “manspreading” have occasioned some internet criticism and debates in the US, UK, Turkey, and Canada. The public debate began when an anti-manspreading campaign started on the social media website Tumblr in 2013; the term appeared a year later. added the word “manspreading” in August 2015. Use of the term has been criticized as “a caricature of feminism” and the practice has been juxtaposed with examples of women taking up excessive space in public spaces with bags.

Further on, it supplies a female equivalent of the term

The criticism and campaigns against manspreading have been counter-criticized for not addressing similar behavior by women, such as taking up adjacent seats with bags, or “she-bagging”.

So much controversy over a non-vulgar term, living in Italy I had no idea about the heated debate this term has sparked. So to make some sort of amends, I edited my answer and now it reads

[someone] who spreads their legs and/or invades your space (AKA “manspreading” or “she-bagging”)

But it’s not a perfect fit. And she-bagging doesn’t work if you’re talking about an airplane seat, does it?

  • What would be a gender-neutral equivalent of manspreading. A term that would not offend men, but could be applied to both sexes?


Seat hog

Without having an example sentence, it’s hard to suggest a perfect fit, but I would suggest "seat hog" or "seat hogging."

There’s even a whole blog dedicated to posting pictures of this sort of people. (I tried to pick a photo with a non-obvious gender)
From that blog:

SeatHog – noun – \ˈsēt-hog\ – a selfish or clueless individual who deprives another individual of any reasonable or unimpeded opportunity to sit down.

(In my dialect in regular IPA: /ˈsi:tˌhɑg/)

The sort of picture they share:

A seat hog seen lounging back taking up two seats while another subway ride is forced to stand

Washington state’s Sound Transit* uses "seat hog" to teach people how to ride the train. (Included the other ones because they’re cute too.)

Sound Transit seat graphics showing animals in correct and incorrect seated posture

For readers unfamiliar with this use of "hog," it follows this OED definition:

[6] b. orig. U.S. Chiefly with modifying word: a person who appropriates or monopolizes something in a greedy and selfish manner. Cf. hog v.1 7b.

  • Seattle metro area, the "Sound" refers to the Puget Sound, which lies directly west of Seattle.

Source : Link , Question Author : Mari-Lou A , Answer Author : Azor Ahai -him-

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