MADRID — If you’re taking a bus in the Spanish capital, be sure to keep your legs to yourself.
Madrid authorities on Monday started putting up signs banning the practice of ‘manspreading’ — opening one’s legs so wide you invade other’s seating space —on city buses as part of their new etiquette guidelines.
EMT municipal transportation company says the sign is designed to discourage physical postures that bother people.
The sign features an illustration of a man with splayed legs with a red ‘X’ above. The text beneath urges passengers to “respect the space of others.”
There are no sanctions or fines for those indulging in the practice.
The bus company incorporated the ban following an internet signature campaign by a woman’s group, Mujeres en Lucha (Fighting Women).
In their campaign petition, the women said it was a “very common practice.”
“It’s not difficult to see women with their legs closed and very uncomfortable because there’s a man beside them who’s invading their space with their legs,” it added.
The group said women were taught to sit with their legs together whereas men are ingrained with “the idea of territorial hierarchy, as if the space belongs to them.”
EMT said it felt its initiative, which also includes asking passengers not to eat or drink on buses, to keep their backpacks on or put their feet up on seats, was being well received. Again, there are no sanctions for any of these other requests.
“When a person opens their legs so wide it disturbs others, this is rude,” said Alvaro Gomez Jordana Moya, 60, as he waited for a bus in Madrid. “It’s also uncomfortable having to ask someone, ‘Please, can you close your legs’.”
“It’s a problem because people don’t respect seating,” said another bus passenger Maria Carmen Ventosa, 46. “It should change things, if only out of respect for others.”
Madrid’s underground train company said it had no plans to follow suit.