Madrid has started a campaign against “manspreading” on public transit after ardent feminists convinced the city council that men splaying their legs to make room for their private parts is a terrible inconvenience.
The movement began after the group “Women at War” presented a petition with 10,000 signatures to Madrid city hall, the Telegraph reported Wednesday. “It’s a question of culture. We women have always been told to occupy the least amount of space possible, and men haven’t,” said Alejandra de la Fuente, the leader of the anti-manspreading campaign.
Urban dictionary defines “manspreading” as, “The act of men spreading legs — particularly on a subway train — to create space for genitalia, which has come under fire by certain feminist-leaners who insist the practice takes up too much room on crowded trains.”
Madrid’s EMT transport corporation unveiled a set of stickers depicting a male figure with his knees spread eagle, accompanied by the slogan “Respect others’ space.”
The Madrid council said that the new rule was aimed specifically at “male transport users [who] open their legs and occupy two places.”
Men have denounced what they feel is sexist persecution of the male gender on Twitter, and have vowed to manspread more aggressively in protest.
The Madrid council said that “putting a name to and making visible these kinds of daily sexist behaviour that go unnoticed is the way ahead to … leaving inequality and machismo behind.”
Ángel Garrido of the conservative Popular Party and regional transport chief, said there was no need to ban manspreading as “current rules state that it is one seat per passenger.”
Madrid is not the first city to intervene in “sexist behaviour” on public transportation, the Telegraph reported.
Two years ago, New York City launched a campaign against manspreading on the subway, and Mexico City sought to “teach men a lesson about misogynist behaviour” by installing “penis seats” on underground trains in March.
The penis-shaped seats, labelled for men only, touted a sign that read, “It is annoying to travel this way, but not compared to the sexual violence women suffer in their daily commutes.”
The Madrid council made no mention of whether it will address ‘bagspreading’ or ‘womanspreading’.
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