Manslamming. I had no idea such a word existed until my teen introduced the term to me during one of daily car trips to pick up and drop off campers. We spend a lot of time in the car, and sometimes the conversations are insightful. Below is a snippet of my car conversation with my teen after he tells me about the manslamming study.
In early November of last year, 25-year-old labor organizer Beth Breslaw decided to confront male entitlement one sidewalk stranger at a time. Having heard that men were less likely than women to make room on a crowded sidewalk, she wanted to test the theory herself while commuting to and from her job in the Financial District. The result? Frequent collisions with men. The term manslamming was coined by New York magazine’s Jessica Roy. Read More here
Teen: Why is this even an issue? Who thinks up this stuff?
Me: The point is that women shouldn’t always have to move out of the way of men when walking down a sidewalk. Men should move out of the way at least some of the time.
Teen: But if a women notices the man before he notices her, it makes sense that she should move over to avoid the collision.
Me: It’s nice manners to be aware of other people. Women shouldn’t be put in the position of having to move first.
Teen: A guy just walks down the sidewalk. He’s not thinking, who can I push out of the way today? The woman notices that he is walking towards her and steps over. What’s the problem?
Me: Perhaps he should notice her and step aside. Nobody likes to be pushed around.
Teen: Nobody will be pushed, and collisions will be avoid if the first person who notices the other moves out of the way. Women usually notice and step aside first. What is the big deal?
Me: Men barreling down sidewalks at breakneck speeds, manslamming into women is the big deal.
Teen: Only to women. A man would just be briefly confused about why the women ran into him. I bet he wouldn’t even mention it to his friends. It’s stupid.
Me: WAIT ONE MINUTE! Women insisting on sidewalk-stepping-aside equality is not stupid. I’ll have you know bras were burned over this very issue—sort of. Women have every right to tell men to stop being oblivious to women’s right to their piece of sidewalk and to move over. Women conduct these studies because they know how important it is that feminism is taken seriously!
Teen: (sideways smile) Is this a serious issue for you?
Ok. I kind of see the teen’s point. Thinking back, I don’t ever remember a time that I was a victim of manslamming. I guess I’ve just walked down the sidewalks of life moving over and moseying on.
What do you think? Is manslamming a first-world feminist problem? Should we paint posters, hold rallies, and chant “I won’t be mowed over no more.” Or should women move over and fuhgeddaboudit.
Odd Loves Company
One last thing, (El Morno friend Cynthia would want me to offer this reminder) regardless of your sex—male, female, neutral, or undecided— In America, one must always walk on the right and pass on the left. Thank you.