Manslamming is How Men Dominate City Sidewalks

One woman’s brave fight against dudes walking right into everybody all the time

Getting body-checked as you step out onto a subway platform is part of the experience of living in a crowded urban center. But next time you’re nudging your way down a bustling downtown walkway and get shoulder-shoved by a fellow pedestrian, take a look at their face. Was it a man? Probably. Talk to most women and they’ll tell you from experience that men most frequently take up too much space on the sidewalk, completely unaware of the people around them just trying to get by.

New York magazine calls the phenomenon “manslamming,” the first cousin of manspreading, the colloquialism that describes how men take up too much space on public transportation seats, spreading their legs wide open. It’s one more example of how male privilege commands and conquers space, in the most literal way possible.

When one New York woman set out to test this theory by walking like a man, marching assertively ahead with minimal regard for other pedestrians, she found herself constantly colliding into men. Beth Breslaw, the human manslamming guinea pig, said that she spent much of November and all of December running into men who refused to accomodate her on the sidewalk.

“I can remember every single man who moved out of the way, because there were so few,” Breslaw told NY Mag.