Design student invents 'anti-manspreading' chair

Caroline Allen
The student said she was "fed up with men infringing on her public space". [Photo: Getty]

Could this mark the end of manspreading?

One university student thinks so. Laila Laurel, 23, has has won a national award for her chair design which stops men from manspreading.

Manspreading is when a man spreads his legs wide apart, particularly on public transport, and encroaches on the personal space of others around him.

The word was added to the Oxford dictionary in 2015.

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Laila’s chair was part of her 3D craft and design degree at the University of Brighton.

Two pieces of wood are positioned inwardly to physically stop men from spreading their legs by forcing their knees to touch.

She won the Belmond Award for emerging talent in the design industry. The award’s panel looks for imaginative and cleverly presented ideas.

Laila’s work, which was inspired by her own experiences, has drawn in some criticism on social media.

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“Has she forgotten that we have something between our [sic] legs that stops us from closing our legs comfortably?” One angry Instagram user wrote.

Another questioned: “How have you been commended for creating something which is totally anti-natural for both genders?”

The design wasn’t met by negativity from everybody, though. One person said: “Being made aware of how you impact those around you should be basic; not your right to slop-over. This is a great invention/design as it does bring into awareness the issue.”

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As well as creating a seat to encourage men to close their legs, Laila has made a second seat intended for women.

The seat has a small piece of wood in the middle, which she hopes will encourage women to sit with the legs wider apart.

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