The act of "manspreading" has been banned on public transportation in Madrid, Spain.
The Municipal Transportation Company announced on June 7 that it will no longer allow riders to spread their legs while sitting on buses and trains, notes The Local.
New signs will be posted on public transportation to make riders aware of the banned practice.
The signs will include a red icon of a person sitting with his legs apart with the caption: "Respect the space of others." Other forbidden acts include eating, smoking, littering and putting one's feet up on the seats.
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The Municipal Transportation Company issued a statement on the new policy: "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."
According to i News, a feminist organization, Mujeres en Lucha, launched a Change.org petition on June 5 that explained the offense:
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. 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.
Mujeres en Lucha's campaign went viral, and it planned to deliver their petition to Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena and to Cristina Cifuentes, the regional president of Madrid.
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Manspreading has been a controversial issue for Madrid residents for several months.
CUP, a left-wing political party, called for a campaign against manspreading back in April because it was "an issue of equality."
CUP spokesperson Sara Moy explained: "Invading the personal space of other people, usually women, is an exhibition of machismo and a micro-aggression that can make the person suffering it uncomfortable."
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City had an anti-manspreading poster campaign in 2014 that read: "Dude, Stop the spread please."
The Gothamist noted in May 2015 that two Latino men had been arrested for manspreading by police in a subway, per a report by the Police Reform Organizing Project.
According to PROP, their volunteers witnessed the accused manspreaders being arraigned in a Brooklyn criminal court. However, the judge in the case seemed skeptical that the men were taking up too much room on the subway and inconveniencing other people just after midnight.
The Gothamist noted that the judge did not outright dismiss the manspreading charge, but did issue an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, which meant the criminal charges would be tossed out if the accused men did not get arrested again within a specific amount of time.
The MTA Rules of Conduct don't specifically mention the act of manspreading, but do not allow people to "occupy more than one seat on a station, platform or conveyance when to do so would interfere or tend to interfere with the operation of the Authority's transit system or the comfort of other passengers."