A self-described “public activist” in Russia has taken a stand against patriarchal sitting habits, publishing a video that she claims shows “manspreading” metro passengers being punished with bottles of bleach-laced water.
Anna Dovgalyuk, who previously gained notoriety for fighting upskirting with a video of a girl flashing her underwear, has now felt it necessary to take a stand against men who spread their legs when they sit. A woman of action, Ms. Dovgalyuk says she mixed 30 liters of water with 6 liters of bleach, and an accomplice of hers then poured the patriarchy-cleansing cocktail on the crotches of various “manspreading” strangers minding their own business on the St. Petersburg metro.
The idea is to leave a permanent mark on the manspreaders’ clothes, “so that everyone can immediately understand which body part controls the behavior of these men.” Now it all makes sense.
Since it’s not public activism unless it’s on YouTube, the stunt was captured on video and posted on her channel. Whether real or staged, the video has received some pretty unfavorable reviews – to put it mildly. As of early Wednesday, it had over 600,000 views with 1,400 likes and over 29,000 dislikes.
“Bleach can cause burns,” one astute netizen pointed out in the comments section. “I would have taken this [young lady] by the scruff and dragged her to the police.” Another pointed out that the permanent damage this could have caused to the men’s clothes and whatever they had in their pockets is a criminal offense. Ironically, Dovgalyuk is a law student herself.
“The stupidest manifesto I’ve ever seen,” another commenter noted. “Are all feminists engaged in such rubbish? It would be better to do something useful for society.” Feminist or not, a few commenters suggested that the woman in the video managed to get away with her antics and not get hurt precisely because she is a woman.
Some users put forward the novel idea of talking to manspreaders and asking them to stop. But would that count as public activism?
Now that she’s put St. Petersburg’s machos in their place, Dovgalyuk says she will be bringing her righteous bleaching campaign to Moscow and Kazan next.
Manspreading on the subway is, in fact, an issue contentious enough to have provoked an entire campaign over in the US, with its epicenter in New York, involving celebrity activists and ads on trains.