Manspreading: Myth, Message, or Management?

Cecilia Schmitz, Tommy Silva, Sinahi Torres, Ye Won Yoon 

Communication takes a variety of forms including communication through the use of body language, but oftentimes different genders have shown differences in the way they use it to portray themselves. Previous research has indicated that men will participate in “manspreading” which consists of spreading out typically in public spaces, while women accommodate others. Other research shows that people tend to spread out when they feel a sense of dominance. In order to fill any possible knowledge gap, we formed a study to discover how relevant this research is to UCLA undergraduates. Our study was based on the research question: Do men and women use spatial movement and orientation differently, and does this reflect their respective gender identity? We hypothesized that men do take up more space than women and that women’s contracted body language would only be around men. This left room for interesting questions: do men always take up more space? Do the way women use body language get influenced by the gender they are around? As you continue to read our study, you will uncover whether this is relevant or if we notice other trends amongst the students.

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