It was way back in 2015 when New York police made their first arrests for “manspreading” — the practice of a man sitting on the subway with his legs apart, blocking the seats next to him. We hadn’t heard much about manspreading since, but Kara Alaimo (it’s always a professor) has a piece on CNN’s website comparing the refusal to wear a mask to manspreading and also links it to sexual harassment. It was apparently inspired by Justice Neil Gorsuch’s refusal to wear a mask.

She writes:

Gorsuch’s choice not to mask up was an act of the same variety as men who “manspread” on the subway by sitting with their legs apart so there isn’t legroom for the person next to them or use “bro language” like referring to their sexual exploits in the workplace. This kind of behavior often makes women feel uncomfortable and even unwelcome in public settings, including their places of work. In the case of Gorsuch’s disregard for Sotomayor, it was particularly inappropriate because not wearing a mask posed a potential threat to her health.

… Stanford researchers also recently found that men who refuse to comply with Covid rules such as mask wearing are also more likely to commit sexual harassment and have sexist views. This makes perfect sense, since they’re all outrageous displays of entitlement.

She concludes by calling the refusal to wear a mask in public places “a display of staggering entitlement that should leave people of all genders outraged.”

“People who don’t wear masks in public places like supermarkets show shocking disregard for the welfare of children under age 2, who are too young to wear masks themselves,” she writes. “Because masks aren’t mandated in my local supermarket, I don’t feel safe bringing my baby inside to pick up groceries. Therefore, like many moms of little ones, when I’m not at work, I practically live under house arrest these days.”

“The behavior of people who refuse to mask up belies a very masculine-oriented, individualistic understanding of ‘freedom.'”

We’d really like to know more about the methodology behind that Stanford study that linked mask-wearing to sexual harassment. Is this like that research study that proved that “dogs are a tool of white supremacy and gentrification”?


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