The idea of men taking up a lot of space is far from unfamiliar. The Internet is filled with snapshots of women’s manspreading encounters on subways, buses, trains, planes, benches, and movie theaters around the globe. Now there’s another concept that needs to be brought to light; it’s called “manslamming.”
It’s not a new phenomenon. Jessica Ray of New York Magazine dubbed the term “manslamming” in 2015, claiming it the cousin of manspreading. Ray goes on to say, “…arguably, both are symptoms of a culture that teaches men to self-assuredly occupy any and all space available to them, regardless of who’s nearby.”
Manslamming is a man’s obliviousness to the amount of space he is consuming on sidewalks, and as such, either expects someone to yield for him or he’ll — as the term refers — slam into the person walking towards him.
As a woman, accustomed to being a polite and considerate individual, I’ve always been the one to slide out of the way of the person walking towards me — occasionally encountering the awkward shuffle until we manage to pass one another.
However, those days are gone. Sure, I’m still polite and slide out of the way in many cases, but when I see a man walking towards me with eyes clearly indicating that he will not be moving out of my way, I accept the challenge.
Walking with my head up, feeling confident, I continue my stride allowing the man to inevitably manslam me, unless he dips his shoulder at the very last second. Then, we continue on our paths like nothing happened.
So when did I change my mind about my walking habits?
Basically, living in bustling Barcelona changed me. I’ve experienced the sternness and obliviousness of men, Catalan or otherwise, far too many times to count. But I’ll share my favorite manslamming story.
It’s a sunny, relatively busy afternoon in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona as I’m taking a walk on a large, pedestrian-only street. I, as logical humans do, keep to the right when I’m walking as to not create total chaos among fellow walkers. Keep to the right, that’s correct walking etiquette, right? Right.
A man, probably in his early 50’s, comes around the corner from a small alleyway on my — you guessed it— right-hand side. He looks me dead in eye as we are at a clear standoff. I’m walking on the right, he wants to pass me on my right, he’s wrong, I’m right, I’m not having it. So I accept the challenge. I stare him right back in the eyes. It felt like an entire minute had gone by until he finally whispered something surely disturbing under his breath and proceeded to manslam me so hard I had to take a few steps back. What do I do as a female badass who has claimed her spot on the street? Shove him. That’s right, I shoved a 50 year old Catalan man on the street for manslamming me. Since then, I’ve never looked back.
I wrote up my experience online, receiving endless messages from other women who have experienced similar situations on the streets.
Men, manslamming is not cool and we as women are no longer standing for it. Women, let’s vow to hold our ground on the streets and let men experience how strong, confident, and fearless we are.