Instagram, your phone’s own little cave of wonders, is filled with new trends. First came selfies, then booty and finger-in-lip shots (and nose hair extensions?). They tend to start with celebrities (thanks, Kylie Jenner) and catch on like a cool, super-filtered virus. The latest trend to hit Instagram is not only fierce, but re-appropriates a classic male power move.
It’s called womanspreading, a play off of the term manspreading,which is the phenomenon in which men spread their legs open without any considering for the people, usually women, next to them.
Manspreading became a popular cultural term as early as 2014 when women started sharing photos of men taking up room with their open legs, most commonly in public where space is at a premium, like on the subway.
Many say it’s about power and sexism as men feel entitled, or have been cultured to feel entitled, to space at the expense of women squished next to them, while women are taught to just move out of their way. The anti-manspreading sentiment became so loud that New York City’s public transit system created a campaign to discourage the act on their subways. Madrid’s public transit system banned the move entirely and even Helen Mirren spoke out against it on Jimmy Fallon.
After a few years of speaking it, it appears women are making the trend their own. But instead of taking up space on public transit, they’re asserting their confidence and power in their own social feeds.
Some women decided to womanspread to fight back against men basing women’s purity on whether or not their legs are together. “When people tell me it’s unladylike to spread my legs :^)” one woman captioned her photo.
Even models like Emily Ratajkowski and Elsa Hosk have womanspread as early as this past summer.
Though the trend has taken off on Instagram among the masses recently, the move has long been incorporated into the dance routines of stars like Beyonce and Pussycat Dolls’ lead Nicole Scherzinger. Considering how fierce and unapologetic these women are, it’s not a surprise the sexy move has made its way to still images on Insta. Spread away, ladies!