Men shamed in new public transport campaign

Madrid manspreading
Madrid manspreading

Men travelling on public transport in Spain’s capital Madrid have been targeted by a new campaign organised by left-wing feminists – and it’s going to change the way they sit.

Thanks to petitions and social media campaigns, Madrid’s regional government and transport authority will launch an advertising campaign to stop men from manspreading on trains.

Manspreading refers to when men sit with their legs far apart, often encroaching on the space of other passengers and occupying more than one seat.

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The transport authority will be using signs and stickers depicting an anti-manspreading symbol on public transport in an effort to curb the practice, accompanied by the slogan “Respect others’ space”.

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The campaign came about through a petition on Change.org started by feminist group Microrrelatos Feministas, as well as a social media campaign by Mujeres en Lucha (Women at War).

The Change.org petition says that while all means of transport are signed with stickers explaining passengers have to leave space for pregnant women, the elderly and people with a disability, they’re missing something that affects practically everyone: manspreading.

“It is not something that occurs sporadically, if you look, you will realise that it is a very common practice,” the petition reads. “It is not difficult to see women with their legs closed and very uncomfortable because there is a man next to her who is invading her space with her legs.”

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“It is not a question of bad education, but that just as women have taught us to sit with our legs close together (as if we had to hold something between our knees) men have transmitted an idea of ​​hierarchy and territoriality, as if the space belonged to them.”

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The petition has more than 11,000 signatures.

Men have expressed their outrage at the ban on social media, citing biology and women’s handbags occupying seats as reasons why the ban is a step too far.

“Easy enough to sit next to a man who is spreading but you can’t sit on a girl’s handbag which takes up almost half the carriage during peak hour,” one user commented. 

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Another said, “If you had testicles you’d understand. Imagine having your breasts hanging between your thighs instead of on your chest.”

“Or maybe it would be simpler to run an educational campaign explaining the difference in physiology between male and female hip structure. Male hips are far narrower (no need to squeeze a small human out through it) and due to the ligament attachment points this naturally angles the legs outward when sitting… Nah probably just easier to jump on the bandwagon I guess,” another comment reads.

It’s not the first time manspreading has been in the press. Manspreading has been an issue in New York City for years, with several campaigns taking place to stop the practice.

The New York Post reported last year that more than 26 per cent of men manspread in their seats, compared to 5 per cent of women.

Anti-manspreading awareness campaigns have also taken place in Turkey and Japan.

Has the world gone mad or do you think this is reasonable? Let us know in the comments below.

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