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Madrid Adopts “Manspreading” Policy
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Summary: The manspreading problem taking over Madrid has finally been addressed with a ban on the action.

Madrid is the latest city to ban manspreading but you may be asking yourself what exactly is manspreading? Manspreading sounds like some dirty weird act that men either do or are somehow involved in. However, the actual act is not all that bad; it is simply when guys spread their legs while sitting. So why would Madrid ban it? Well when men do this in busy places like on public transit services, they take up an unnecessary amount of space.


Madrid’s Municipal Transportation Company (EMT) will be displaying the new signage in their trains and buses to alert riders to the rude act that encroaches on the personal space of other riders. The sign states, “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.”

An image on the sign shows a red stick figure man sitting on a seat with his legs spread so that they visibly take over the space of the other seat. There is a red X in the corner. The text on the image reads “Respect the space of others.” There is no clear indication of if there is a fine associated with violators of the ban. EMT said, “This new icon’s mission is to remind people of the need to keep a civil behavior and respect the space of everyone on the bus. The new icon is similar to those already existing in other transport systems around the world to indicate the barring of body posture that bothers other people.”

Women in Madrid have been petitioning and protesting for months to have something done about manspreaders. A viral petition by Mujeres en Lucha titled #MadridSinManspreading was sent to the city’s mayor, Manuela Carmena. The campaign was also shared with Madrid regional president Cristina Cifuentes. The campaign petition read, “Manspreading is the practice of certain men sitting with their legs wide open on public transport, taking up other people’s space. It is not something that occurs sporadically, if you pay attention you’ll see that it is a very common practice.”

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New York City has already adopted a similar policy. In 2014, a campaign titled, “Dude, please stop the spreading,” was started by the MTA. Men caught in the act of manspreading were actually arrested but the charges were dismissed. MTA Rules of Conduct states that taking up more than one seat by manspreading “would interfere or tend to interfere with the operation of the Authority’s transit system or the comfort of other passengers.”

If you plan on traveling to Madrid and a number of other busy metropolitan areas, keep those legs closed unless you want to get man shamed.

Do you think manspreading is that big of a deal? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

To learn more about “man” trends and personal space issues, read these articles:




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