As a man, you’ve probably been guilty of manspreading at one point or another. And as a woman, you’ve probably been uncomfortably subjected to a manspreader. The inconsiderate position, for those unaware, occurs when man plants his ass down in a cramped space—say, public transit—and spreads his legs unnecessarily wide, as if his balls were the size of watermelons. Considering most men do not have melon-size testes, it’s being regarded as a “space issue.”
In Madrid, the city’s Municipal Transportation Company (EMT) has banned the aggrandized posture and will implement new signage (above) in all trains, metros and buses to dissuade men from future spreading. If you think the new law is an act of sexism, consider this study from Hunter College that determined men spread their legs on the subway five times more often than female passengers.
“The new information icon indicates the prohibition of taking a seating position that bothers other people,” the EMT’s statement reads. At this point, it’s unclear if manspreaders will receive a fine if they’re caught illegally spreading.
The sign, which will be featured next to other signs prohibiting smoking, eating, putting feet on seats and litter, will “remind transport users to maintain civic responsibility and respect the personal space of everyone on board.“ As you can see, the sign features an illustrated male figure spreading his legs to a comically exaggerated degree for effect. Next to it is a giant red “X” and text that simply reads “respect the space of others.”
This law comes courtesy of a petition campaign titled #MadridSinManspreading (#MadridWithoutManspreading) which, after going viral was sent to Madrid’s mayor, Manuela Carmena, and regional president, Cristina Cifuentes. “It is not something that occurs sporadically, if you pay attention you’ll see that it is a very common practice,” the petition read. “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.“
Madrid, proving to be quite the progressive city, will also be installing gay-friendly traffic lights to commemorate Gay Pride this month, with the Spanish capital hosting the World Pride festival this year. Instead of the single green man signaling it’s safe to cross the road, he’ll be joined by a same-sex partner. Why? Because representation is remarkably important.
Stateside, New York was one of the first major cities to petition against manspreading on public transportation with their 2014 campaign ”Dude, please stop the spreading.” The result: NYPD officers actually arrested men caught spreading on the subway.
So, gentlemen, take Madrid’s newest law as an indication that public transportation is no place to practice the splits in a seated position. All you’re doing is pissing people off and, if this kind of thing catches on, you may even be committing a criminal offense.