English artist and designer Laila Laurel has created an anti-manspreading chair that ‘forces men to respect other people’s personal space’ by sitting with their legs closed
The chairs were designed as part of a year-long project called ‘Feminism in the Third Dimension’, in which Laurel has attempted to use design to identify, and offer solutions to, ‘sexist issues experienced by women’ such as men sitting in a natural way.
The chair project itself is called ‘A Solution for Man-spreading’ and has already won the Belmond Award at the New Designers show in London.
Laila, a Brighton University graduate now based in Norfolk, England, designed two chairs in a bid to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. One chair is for the ‘person identifying as a man’, which forces them to sit with their legs together, and the other chair is ‘for the person identifying as the woman’ – and encourages them to, yes you guessed it, ‘man spread’ – that is sit with their legs parted to take up more space. Talk about satanic ritual inversion – all done in an ironic post gender world way of course.
“I think encouraging women to consider the way in which they move through the world or the space they take up in relation to men is powerful, because it is such an intrinsic and huge issue, and yet one that is not always considered,” Laurel told online design and architecture site Dezeen
“I think men have a tendency to command space and require women to move for them far more than vice versa,” she continued. “In order to achieve gender equality it is imperative to consider many different aspects of sexism.”
“I hope the message my current and future works send is that of a young woman that is using her design practice in order to create fun, powerful and interesting work surrounding equality and feminism,” the designer said.
Elsewhere graduate Anna Aagaard Jensen has also designed a series of manspreading chairs that encourage women to claim more space with their bodies when sitting, and are off-limits to men.