CORRECTION: Since publishing, this story has been shown to be false. The so-called bleach was in fact water, according to St Petersburg-based publication Bumaga, who reported that one of the men involved in the video, Stanislav Kudrin, was a paid actor. “They poured water on us," Stainslav said. "Naturally, staged. That feeling when you come to the shooting with two spare pants and leave with a salary."
Other publications such as Eu vs Disinfo are now suggesting that the video was a piece of anti-feminist propaganda. The footage was originally posted by In the Now: an English-language social media channel owned by Russia Today—and, in turn, the Russian government—that reportedly "brings elements of Russia’s ongoing disinformation campaign to large international audiences."
This article originally appeared on VICE Australia.
There’s a female vigilante roaming the train carriages of Russia’s metro system, pouring bleach on men’s dicks. Why? To stop them from manspreading, mainly. Because as she says, “Men demonstrating their alpha-manhood in the subway with women and children around deserve contempt.” And because she’s had a gutful of Russian alpha-males and their unchecked “gender aggression”.
Twenty-year-old Anna Dovgalyuk is bleaching men’s balls “on behalf of everyone who has to endure the manifestations of [men] declaring [their] macho qualities on public transportation”. The self-proclaimed social activist believes there isn’t enough being done to crack down on those who regularly ballroom on buses and trains. So she’s taking matters into her own hands.
Anna has produced a so-called “video manifesto”—titled “Spread your legs? Here you go”—dedicated to those “for whom manspreading is the norm”. It more or less consists of the law student pouring a bleach solution “30 times more concentrated than the mixture used by housewives when doing the laundry” between the legs of 70 unsuspecting male passengers on the St Petersburg metro.
The potent solution “eats colours in the fabric in a matter of minutes, leaving indelible stains”, says Anna, who suggests that these stains serve the purpose of “identification spots. So everyone can immediately understand which body part controls the behaviour of these men.”
The video is further captioned with a series of somewhat tenuous facts about manspreading, such as that it’s most often performed by men with low social status and that “there is a relationship between frequent use of alcohol and the desire to sit with your legs spread”. And while Russian news outlet Rosbalt alleges that the whole thing was a sham, Anna insists the footage is real.
This isn’t the first time she’s taken her unique brand of activism to Russia’s public transport network. Just under a year ago, the 20-year-old sought to draw attention to the country’s upskirting laws and “disrespect for women” by flashing her underwear to commuters.