Imagine getting on the subway and finding that the only seat available is one that has a penis on it, and the seat is meant for men only. Well, that’s what commuters discovered on one of the busiest trains on the Mexico City Metro, but there’s a real good cause behind this uncomfortable seat.
THE MOST UNCOMFORTABLE SEAT EVER
When the passengers got on a subway car in Mexico City, there were awkward glances all around after they noticed a seat shaped like a manly torso, with a pair of thighs and a penis.
Some people were baffled while others simply laughed. Then, passengers started taking their phones out and taking photos of this unsightly and seemingly uncomfortable seating arrangement.
THE PROVOCATIVE CHAIR
The anatomically correct seat was actually part of a campaign by UN Women and the government in Mexico City to raise awareness of sexual harassment, which often occurs on subways. In 2015, approximately 126,000 women were groped or harassed on the overcrowded metro system. That’s no laughing matter.
FOR MEN ONLY
The chair wasn’t meant for women to sit on. In fact, it was designed for men only so that they could feel what it’s like to be sexually harassed.
THE POWERFUL MESSAGE
On the floor beneath the seat, there was a sign that read, “It is annoying to travel this way, but not compared to the sexual violence women suffer in their daily commutes”.
The women’s rights campaign released a video titled “Experimento Asiento” or The Chair Experiment, and as of April 5th, 2017, it has been viewed 1,947,965 times. We’re hoping the message is getting engraved on everyone’s minds.
THE MIXED REACTION
The video showed a mixture of reactions from people ranging from discomfort to shock. One man even tried covering the seat with a coat to sit on it, but that didn’t work.
Several men who tried finding comfortable ways to sit, couldn’t, so they just abandoned the idea and remained standing or moved to another seat, and there was certainly a lot of teasing from other guys daring other men to try and sit on it.
UN Women and the Mexican government then released a second video called “Experimento Pantallas”, or Screens Experiment. The project took tight photos of the butts of male passengers and then displayed them on screens for everyone to see. Most men felt disgusted and embarrassed by the photos.
THIS ISN’T MANLY
The campaign called #NoEsDeHombres, or This Isn’t Manly, was introduced by Yeliz Osman of the Mexican UN Women’s office. She felt that sexual violence and harassment programs targeted women. So she wanted to change that so people saw that it’s not women who are the problem.
MEXICO CITY’S PAST EFFORTS TO BATTLE HARASSMENT INCLUDE A RAPE WHISTLE
In 2016, the Mayor of Mexico City announced a plan to pass out plastic whistles, to help alert authorities of harassment. Though his intention was good; the program was poorly received and faced ridicule on social media and from activists. People on twitter joked that the next step would be handing out chastity belts.