Tired of “men encroaching on her personal space,” a female college student in England has won a design competition for her chair intended to end manspreading. The Daily Mail reports, “Laila Laurel, 23, created the piece of furniture to stop men from widening their legs and encroaching on other’s personal space.” Ironically, the corresponding chair for females that Laurel created encourages women to encroach on other’s personal space. No doubt, pointing out hypocrisy is part of the diabolical patriarchal plot of which I’m a part.
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Congratulations to @lailapoppylaurel winner of the @belmond Award. The judges commented, ‘A bold, purpose-driven design that explores the important role of design in informing space, a person’s behaviour and societal issues of today.’ University of Brighton, Stand FP29 #nd19
Before I get to the stupidity that is “manspreading,” I need to point out that there are probably several college students who got robbed in this competition. Laila Laurel’s winning chair could’ve been designed by my 8-year-old son. There’s no way her simply designed and crudely crafted chair is worthy of an award. Maybe a participation trophy, but not an actual award.
The chair for men has a seat that is angled in with raised sides directing the legs together. The women’s chair is the exact opposite — the seat is angled out, allowing for femalespreading (which used to have an entirely different meaning). Oh, by the way, in case you’re wondering what’s stopping men from sitting in Laurel’s chair for women, there is a strategically placed block on the women’s chair. Frankly, I would imagine that block of wood makes it uncomfortable for women, too. Which, I guess, is the point of today’s feminism — everyone is supposed to be miserable.
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‘A Solution for Man-Spreading.’ A pair of chairs from Sycamore and Cherry wood. Thanks to all the girls and boys for coming and having a good old sit on them this week, it’s been silly! #eveydaysexism #furniture #design #craft #comingtond19 #newdesigners19 #newmakers #craftgrad
About “manspreading,” though — it’s true that men are often thoughtless and rude. It would be foolish to attempt to dispute that. We can be loud, boisterous, and downright obnoxious at times. Not all of the time, of course, but more of the time than many of us are willing to admit. That admission, however, does not mean that the thoughtless actions of men are a unified program of patriarchy designed to keep the fairer sex down. This includes the action now called “manspreading.” Sometimes I sit with my legs spread because it’s uncomfortable to do otherwise.
This whole thing reminds me of the time a budding feminist explained to me how pencils are part of the patriarchy because of their phallic shape. I responded that I failed to see how a pencil shaped like the female anatomy could be both efficient and ergonomic. She shut the conversation down by accusing me of “mansplaining.” If our conversation had continued, I would have paraphrased the mostly unhelpful Freud, and added that sometimes a pencil is just a pencil. Likewise, sometimes an uncomfortable man is just an uncomfortable man. Manspreading is not part of a patriarchal plot designed to keep women down. Laila Laurel’s award-winning anti-manspreading chair is proof that we have yet to reach peak stupidity.