Madrid bans manspreading on public transport

Men who sit with their legs wide open are not welcome 

Ravneet Ahluwalia
Thursday 08 June 2017 13:52 BST
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Men need to keep their legs together in Madrid
Men need to keep their legs together in Madrid

Spain’s capital has taken a stand against manspreading – banning men from indulging in the rude leg extending move on its trains and buses.

The city’s Municipal Transportation Company (EMT) plan on installing new signs in all its carriages and vehicles, which they hope will stop the personal space encroaching practise.

EMT released a statement announcing the move on Wednesday. “The new information icon indicates the prohibition of taking a seating position that bothers other people.”

“It’s to remind transport users to maintain civic responsibility and respect the personal space of everyone on board.“

The new poster illustrates the issue with manspreading

The sign shows an illustrated man spreading his legs wide apart on a metro seat with a giant red “X” indicating this is unacceptable. The accompanying text asks passengers to “respect the space of others”. The new poster will sit alongside others that educate passengers about appropriate behaviour when on public transport, prohibiting smoking, eating, dropping litter and putting feet on seats. At this stage it is unclear whether or not a fine will be levied at offenders.

The no spreading sign joins others on Madrid's transport network

The move comes after months of campaigning by women in Madrid. The group Mujeres en Lucha led the protests, starting a petition called #MadridSinManspreading (#MadridWithoutManspreading) earlier this year. The hashtag went viral on social media and the group presented the petition to Madrid’s Mayor and Regional President. The petition stated, “manspreading is the practice of certain men sitting with their legs wide open on public transport, taking up other people’s space. “It’s not difficult to see women with their legs shut and very uncomfortable because there is a man next to them who is invading their space with his legs.”

In April the CUP party look the issue to government level when they asked for a national campaign to be launched against the problem. They described the behaviour as a “exhibition of machismo and a micro-aggression that can make the person suffering it uncomfortable.”

Madrid follows in the footsteps of New York, one of the first cities to stand a stand against manspreading on public transport back in 2014. Its ”Dude, please stop the spreading“ campaign on the city’s metro network won widespread support. NYPD officers went as far as arresting offenders who did not comply but the charges were eventually dropped.

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