A startling new seat design in the Mexico City subway system is intended to help cut down on the sexual harassment and assault committed daily against female passengers who are forced to deal with men getting way too close — intentionally — on crowded cars.
The gimmick? A seat that resembles the torso and lap of a naked man, complete with genitalia. It’s not the most comfortable seat in the car — and it’s marked “for men only.” Those who happen to sit there and stare at the floor in embarrassment would see a sign reading (in Spanish): “It’s uncomfortable to sit here, but it’s nothing compared to the sexual violence suffered by women on their daily commutes.”
Will it be effective? Hard to say. The very best thing about the seat is the bemused/shocked/disgusted looks from passengers when they spot the unusual addition to the system. The campaign recently posted a video on YouTube showing travelers’ encounters with the new seat. The clip, “Experimento Asiento” (or “Seat Experiment”), has so far garnered more than 1.4 million views. The video ends with the message: “Nine out of 10 women in Mexico City have been victims of some form of sexual violence in their daily commutes.”
The campaign is called “No Es De Hombres” (meaning, roughly, that’s “not manly”) and the intent is to expose men to situations commonly experienced by women on public transit.
In another provocative strategy — with video (“Experimento Pantellas,” or “Experimental Screens”) — on the Mexico City subway system, tight shots of men’s butts were “live streamed” on overhead screens as they waited for trains. Their embarrassment and discomfort at being center stage, held up for judgment, body-shaming, guffaws and lust, is supposed to be another learning moment for men.