Madrid has moved to ban ‘manspreading’ on its public transport system after feminists convinced the city’s left-wing council that men invading the space of others with their splayed legs was a problem that needed to be tackled.
Madrid’s EMT transport corporation has unveiled a new set of stickers to be placed on all city buses including one of a male figure with his knees spread wide apart, accompanied by the slogan “Respect others’ space”.
The change comes about after a group called Mujeres en Lucha (Women at War) launched a social network campaign against ‘manspreading’ and presented a petition signed by 10,000 people to Madrid city hall.
“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 a leader of the anti-manspreading campaign, Alejandra de la Fuente.
Madrid council, led by a coalition backed by the left-wing Podemos party, said the new rule was aimed specifically at “male transport users [who] open their legs and occupy two places”.
The council also pointed out that other anti-social behaviour was being targeted in the new notices, including putting feet on seats and listening to loud music on headphones.
But some men took to social networks to denounce what they feel is sexist persecution of the male gender.
“The MAN part of the word is out of order. I have seen women with handbags on other seats, lying back and spreading their legs like men…” Jesús Herraiz from Madrid said on Twitter.