In Brief

VIDEO: Russian woman pours bleach spray on ‘manspreaders’

Anna Dovgalyuk says crotch stain acts as ‘identification spot’ - but is the stunt staged?

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A Russian student’s one-woman campaign to end “manspreading” on public transport by pouring bleach solution onto men’s crotches has provoked fierce debate online.

In a video uploaded to YouTube, 20-year-old Anna Dovgalyuk is seen approaching dozens of male passengers on the St Petersburg metro whom she judges to be taking up an excessive amount of legroom and dousing their crotch with liquid from a bottle.

The law student defends her actions as a fightback against “an act of gender aggression”.

“Men demonstrating their alpha-manhood in the subway with women and children around deserve contempt,” she says in the video, which has been viewed more than a million times since it was uploaded yesterday.

To ensure her attacks leave a permanent stain on her target’s clothing, she uses a mixture of six litres of bleach in 30 litres of water -  a concoction far more potent than the recommended ratio for ordinary cleaning.

If her numbers are accurate, Dovgalyuk’s solution contains one part bleach to five parts water. For comparison, Domestos recommends diluting 120ml of its household bleach in five litres of water, a ratio of nearly 1:50.

“It eats colours in the fabric in a matter of minutes,” she said, adding that the stains act as “identification spots” to show the world “which body part controls the behaviour of these men”.

In a message to manspreaders, the self-proclaimed activist claimed to be standing up for “everyone who has to endure the manifestations of you declaring your macho qualities on public transportation”.

Unsurprisingly, many viewers were shocked by what appeared to be an extreme reaction to a minor social transgression, warning that wielding a strong bleach solution in public posed a serious risk to both her target and bystanders. Some called for her to face prosecution.

However, others suspected that there could be more to the videos than meets the eye. “A Russian news outlet claimed that her video was a sham - and that she had used actors,” the Daily Mail reports. Dovgalyuk denies the accusation.

“This isn’t the first time she’s taken her unique brand of activism to Russia’s public transport network,” notes Vice. Last year, Dovgalyuk “sought to draw attention to the country’s upskirting laws and ‘disrespect for women’ by flashing her underwear to commuters”

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