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Swedish blogger snaps commuting 'macho men'

Swedish blogger snaps commuting 'macho men'

Published: 13 Feb 2012 16:43 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Feb 2012 16:43 GMT+01:00

”The encroaching of women's space is part of a larger problem. This might be discrimination on a smaller scale but it is just as important because it is a problem which women face every day,” 26-year-old blog founder My Vingren told The Local.

The blog Macho on Public Transport (Macho i Kollektivtrafiken) was launched after a Facebook page with the same name had to be closed down due to the many anti-feminist and racist comments.

Vingren told The Local how she first started reacting to men taking up more than their allotted space on tubes and buses.

Photo Gallery: see more examples of how 'macho' riders take up space on public transport

”I first noticed this ridiculous behaviour and reacted to it but when I asked my friends they hadn't really noticed until I brought it up,” Vingren said.

After deciding that this was a discussion worth giving some attention, Vingren started a Facebook group on the subject. Within two weeks the group had received 500 likes.

But soon after, the more active members of the group started receiving threats and having sexist and racist comments hurled at them online.

When the page was closed down, Vingren started the blog as the reactions made the group more aware than ever that this was a discussion that needed an outlet.

”Macho on Public Transport is not about etiquette. It is not about manners. It is about the supply of space. We dedicate this blog to all the girls and women who have gotten used to squeezing up to avoid having strange men's thighs pressed to theirs,” the website reads.

The majority of excuses men use for their need to take up space are anatomical, according to Vingren. The need to relax their thighs is a favourite, as is the fear of getting sterile or sweating in areas they prefer keeping cool.

”We are a declaration of war against all macho men who think that their need to relax their thigh muscles or, heaven forbid, their unwillingness to deal with scrotum sweat is more important than women's right to a personal sphere and equal share of space," it says on the site.

Many men also say that they are not the only ones, that women take up space as well, by placing their bag next to them on the seat. Vingren is not sure she agrees with this claim.

”But if that is the case, it's in itself an interesting reaction, as it would imply that the only way for women to take up space is to erect a wall between themselves and the person taking up space next to them,” she said.

According to Vingren, the blog has received mixed responses. Among those criticizing the venture the majority are men, but a few women have also given them negative feedback.

”However, many are very positive about what we do,” she said.

According to Vingren, she hopes that the outcome of the project is that men will be more aware about how much space they take up and respect their fellow passengers, regardless of sex.

”I don't want to tell people how they should sit on public transport, but I think it is up to each and everyone to be aware of how much of someone else's space they take up,” Vingren told The Local.

Related links:

Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:10 February 13, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
...I wonder where the idea came from..? Maybe one of the greatest photographers, Walker Evans, who photographed passengers on public transport..?

Why not just have 'women only' public transport, and make the men walk..? Lol!
18:20 February 13, 2012 by StockholmSam
Well I am a guy and I think this is a discussion worth having. I agree that it signifies something deeper, something self-centered and arrogant in some people. The idea that men need to relax their thighs or air their balls is completely bogus.
18:22 February 13, 2012 by jan.petras
I wish she had a pair of balls and a wiener between her legs FOR JUST ONE DAY. I want to see her then walking around and sitting in the bus like she does now as a woman.

I bet she would cut it off after a few hours.

It's not about how "macho" you are you crazy woman. It's about your testicles not being crushed to death between your legs when you stay down.

Blame evolution.
18:23 February 13, 2012 by Gubbe
Indeed! Good on them for doing something about it!

Next - can they focus on the people that feel the need to have discussions in doorways, at the top or bottom of escalators, or in a large groups smack in the middle of the footpath?
18:38 February 13, 2012 by Tennin
If that's the case, why do most men around the world, and this includes many European guys, sit with their legs crossed??? They don't seem to need air them out when they sit like that.
18:41 February 13, 2012 by klubbnika
This is a universal problem. Fed up with men spreading themselves over 1, 5 of 2 seats, explaining that with his anatomy. Hey, my anatomy demands a wider seat too!
19:25 February 13, 2012 by mehor
Why not have this discussion about the obese? Not PC enough? It saddens me greatly that the hatred of men and masculinity is so accepted in Swedish media. What happened to you, Scandinavia.
19:25 February 13, 2012 by Svensksmith
What I want to know is why do I always end up next to some fat a$$ with BO?
19:28 February 13, 2012 by ?????
Go find a boyfriend you little miserable thing. then you might not find the time to get pissed off with everything. Oh, and what about women taking tens of bags in the metro after shopping? Should we start a site for that too?
19:28 February 13, 2012 by bethrichardson
I am so glad someone is finally speaking up about this! This is a world-wide problem, not just a Swedish one, and I think it speaks to the arrogance and selfishness of men and the idea that they are somehow more important than women. Being a frequent traveler, I have dealt with this many times on airplanes and it's really frustrating for me. Good job to this blogger!!!
19:29 February 13, 2012 by Beavis
Will somoene else be taking photographs of women who insist on taking the seat up next to them with their handbag, even when its standing room only? Often leaving elderly passengers to cling on for dear life.
19:50 February 13, 2012 by seagull
This isn't a problem about men taking up space, or women using handbags, it's a problem about lack of communication in society.

I often say "Ursäkta mej" when someone is in my way, and more often than not get puzzled looks.

I also often suddenly realize that someone behind me is trying to pass, but stays silent... why don't they say something??

But actually I agree, many men do this (I do if I'm alone, but not on a busy train or bus).

And to the haters above...The mind boggles. Were you brought up by Silverback gorillas?
19:50 February 13, 2012 by AntiFeminist
I'm happy to be gone from Sweden where the war against men rages. The problem is that all the men with the balls to point to the absurdities are gone. And the ones left are way to scared of being called a misogynist to say anything. Theirs a cold feminist frost coming from Sweden. Everything is about gender now, men get tried for crimes against women in secret, being a man is enough to get you arrested if any allegation is leveled at you.
19:52 February 13, 2012 by klubbnika
#10

Right on spot!

And what about that rubbing and grabbing that so many men exercise on the packed public transportation!

Also, why so many men insist on having their backpacks ON their backs in the fully packed carriages, therefore taking at least one more place that could be used by a person? Is it really so difficult to take it off? No, this is pure selfishness.

And I hate when you critisize that male selfishness they play their "feminist man-haters"-card... Honestly, grow up!
20:08 February 13, 2012 by matona1
men loves body contact ,sadist women move away while cool women move closer
20:26 February 13, 2012 by BillyB
what a load of rubbish.

Everyday on the train i see seats taken up by women's bags piled up while they are doing their make up on the train.

Can hardly get on for lipstick, mascara and mirrors all over the place.

Or people with there dogs on the seats

Or people with suitcases stopping anyone else getting near the seats...

Clearly this woman is lonely and just needs to get some
20:40 February 13, 2012 by nar klockan klamtar
Wether you like it or not, the lady is right. The main cause is ignorance and bad manners.
20:45 February 13, 2012 by sarah02
i had a good laugh today reading this on my way to school :D
20:50 February 13, 2012 by swedejane
How incredibly passive-aggressive. How about simply poking the fellow and asking him to give you room?
21:10 February 13, 2012 by Vill
I would like to propose an amicable compromise. I shall keep my legs together if I can unzip my pants and let my boy out to breathe.
21:12 February 13, 2012 by strixy
I wear New Rocks and every time a man spreads his legs in front of me I put one of my boots inbetween. Works wonders. I hate those frog-like guys trying to devour me with their spread legs. Bleh!
21:55 February 13, 2012 by blursd
Two points I see being made here are, 1) Men kind of have items located between their legs that don't always make keeping their legs together practical or possible. What would women do if they have to wear two hard boiled eggs and a hot dog in their underwear all day ... might cause they to reexamine how they sit. Not that that's a complete excuse, because some guys do take way more space than they should -- I don't really think it's accurate to categorize such behavior as "machismo" or somehow directed only at woman (as the article tacitly suggests). I'm a guy, and I've had to deal with other guys doing this ... which leads me to point number two. 2)What's so hard about saying, "hey, could you please give me some more room?" Instead she has to go full blown passive aggressive and resort to an online visual diatribe. I can have respect for someone who asks and then the person doesn't comply, and THEN they make an issue of the behavior, but if you don't let the person know you have a problem how exactly are they supposed to know ... be a mind reader. YOU have to take some responsibility to stand up for yourself. You don't have to be rude or confrontational. Going back to what I said about my own experiences (as a man dealing with other men doing this) a simple, "do you mind ..." usually solves the problem. Most of the time it isn't a conscious decision on the part of the person doing it ... they might not even realize they're doing it, or it might be second nature to them (yes ... someone people are inherently inconsiderate).

Just my two cents ...
21:56 February 13, 2012 by wxman
This neurotic beotch needs to get a life, and perhaps a girlfriend.
22:42 February 13, 2012 by procrustes
Well, true that anyone should be considerate of others. While we have men closing their legs (there ARE limits to this), how about all those selfish cows that fill the seat beside them with bags?
23:31 February 13, 2012 by batista
Oh my god! How can men live in these Nordic countries? These feminists are taking it too far seriously...what happened to Real Men and the Viking blood? Someone with proper balls should really put an end to this....

There is a saying that goes like this: If you give a woman your hand, she will take your whole arm.

For Men's sake, wake up Vikings! Stop it!!
00:03 February 14, 2012 by BillyB
Mind the gap
00:10 February 14, 2012 by Old_Warhorse
To all of the rude men out there who insist upon sprawling out on crowded public transport, I suggest wearing a kilt if you feel the need to 'let the boys breathe'. Either that, or take a nice long walk to do so and allow other folks a bit of room.

And the next time you get on public transport and someone has a bag, backpack, or whatever else on the seat next to them and there are no other seats, simply open your mouth and politely ask them to move their belongings so you can sit. You'll be amazed how far showing some common courtesy will go to make life more pleasant.
00:24 February 14, 2012 by Boar
That's why I hate to travel in Public Transport. I take my car and go no matter how much it can cost me. SL is not cheap either. It's 800 sek per month.

Strange things happen in the metros. Bunch of idiots. Bus is OK.
00:33 February 14, 2012 by Samuel Nemalladinne
try pressing ur legs together with a banana and a pair kiwis in your crotch.... then you'll understand woman !! Damn !! please care about the environment, not such shitty unecessary things... u sick prick !
00:58 February 14, 2012 by zircon
On the train to Paris or Vienna that is called company. And I disagree, because a gentleman will not like to 'impose' on lady or other fellow traveler when being in the same cabin. Unless you beg him to. (Just kidding)
04:16 February 14, 2012 by rise
#26 "Mind the gap"

Ahaha, hilarious! :D Just like it always says in the London tube..!
04:22 February 14, 2012 by VicTaulic
This is dumb. All those guys had the double seat to themselves. If a woman showed up, they would have moved over and things would be fine.
05:08 February 14, 2012 by rise
#32

Exactly! :) No one's sitting next to them so why should they pack themselves into one tiny little spot when not even necessary... If this paparazzi-woman is to afraid of using the words "ursäkta mig, är det ledigt här?" she can sue herself. :)
08:36 February 14, 2012 by karex
#22

I agree, many people are inherently inconsiderate. It's not just men, both genders are guilty here and all ages. I am often annoyed with young people cutting their way in a line, jumping into public transport before everyone else has had a chance to get off (and while other passengers await patiently and had ben standing there waiting first) while pushing their way through the mass trying to get out, people who insist on not only using their leg room in trains where seats face each other but the passenger's in front of them as well and top it off by placing their bags on the floor as well instead of the overhead bin, thereby taking ALL the available leg room. People who pay for one seat but take up two, the other with their bags. People screaming on their phones in the middle of public transport as if the entire world needs to hear about their lives, people listening to music so loudly it can be heard in the entire carriage despite the fact that they are wearing earphones, etc. I could go on and on. It's a sympton of bad manners driven by absolute lack of consideration for anything or anyone aside from themselves.
08:56 February 14, 2012 by Mehimself
Sweden is an amazing country, but... both spitting & swearing are common and there's an apparent inability to say thank you when you let someone pass, open a door etc. I think it's a cultural shyness to acknowledge a stranger who has done you a good deed or do they really not appreciate or notice a demonstration of consideration? The Brits go too far in saying thanks, in the US "have a nice" day means nothing and then we have Sweden in the middle = neutral.. maybe they have it right ;-)

as to #32, that would be considered confrontation and culturally is a no no.
09:13 February 14, 2012 by WelshSwede
This is just tosh, I see more bags blocking seats than men having there legs slightly open, even one case where there was a bag on one seat and punnet of strawberries on the third. I asked at the time if the strawberries were tired.

I have never seen more rude women with bags in my entire life, even if you ask them politely to move the bag, the look I receive is if I have just crapped on their laps! This article is a joke! Karex is spot on though!
09:36 February 14, 2012 by jamesblish
This behavior pisses me off too, and I'm a man. Don't take up the space of the seat next to you. Whatever the reason may be, don't do it. Your balls can relax when you get home.
09:43 February 14, 2012 by Svenny Brogarth
Firstly as a general rule all of the seats are the same size but men are larger than women. This is not something that can be denied or argued against in general terms it is a fact. Therefore men will take up more of the space than women, not by being inconsiderate but by simple body mass.

Secondly women men of all ages are disgusting when it comes to public transport in Sweden, they go in to survival mode. The embarrassing race to be first through the doors etc it is staggering. Ultimately this persons claims of macho behaviour by men is compeltely unjust as women are just as bad. And as mentioned above it is just a simple fact that through evolution men tend to be larger than women.
10:21 February 14, 2012 by zooeden
This is one of those lesbian chicks who is gonna have dementia in the future!!!
10:25 February 14, 2012 by WelshSwede
Svenny brogarth - Simple fact that Men tend to be larger than women?

Maybe in stature, but here in Sweden I have noticed Swedish women are a lot taller than women back home and broader shoulders etc, so your stance is as worhtwhile as this article.

It may aswell be me saying that women tend to have fatter arses! Fact!
10:29 February 14, 2012 by klubbnika
#22

Machismo is not necessarily directed towards women. It is directed towards everyone.
12:15 February 14, 2012 by philster61
I'd love to see the look on this idiot female's face if I was to wear my kilt....
12:41 February 14, 2012 by dstergiou
Equality between genders is nice and all, but men (in general) are bugger than women (in general)

This means that that I (1.85, 92 kg) occupy much more space than my female colleague (1.57, 49 kg), but we still have to share the same sits on the train. It's not a power play, it's not about having contact, it's about needing more space to fit myself

Some already commented about this, but, if this behavior annoys you, and you are sitting next to me, just let me know. I promise i won't be offended and i won't think less of you

Last word of wisdom, is this a first world problem, or what?
12:59 February 14, 2012 by Mpf
I looked at the site and a few of the pictures depict the male sitting on the corner of the seat and using his legs left and right to keep himself falling off the seat because the person sat next to them is the one taking up too much space, probably due to their fat arse or as mentioned in another post their handbag.

Gee have some people nothing better to do? Maybe it would be an idea to segregate males and females on the public transport system. Back to the days when the Americans had transportation for whites and black and seperate benches to sit on. Bit draconian dot you think.

How about speaking to the people that run the public transport system and argue that the seats just ain't big enough for the both of us. Start enlarging the tunnel system and start making buses 3m wide. Yeah - revolution here we come.

Or final - just shut the f*@k up and drive to work and stop moaning!
13:03 February 14, 2012 by klubbnika
#43

You find it problematic to share a seat with a female?

You can always share it with another male.

I'd like to see that. :D
14:34 February 14, 2012 by duncs
There's nothing wrong with pointing out that people should respect other passengers on the train, but why not focus on the bigger picture, men, women, dogs, bags etc rather than single out some guys with their legs a little bit too far apart? What about the idiots who don't stand up for pregnant women and the elderly and the twats who stand in the doorway or push in front of you. Until then you just seem like a man hater...
23:05 February 14, 2012 by stevo1
Quote - "I don't want to tell people how they should sit on public transport," Then why blog about it? At least as a feminist have the decency to stand up and be counted for what comes out of your mouth!

Look, most of us guys a physically much larger than most women, so blame the public transport system for building seat portions made for you and small children!

To think that we are trying some sort of sexual perversion thing is just wrong, and for you all to think this is the case, most of you aren't much of a picture frame to begin with. Besides, we as guys will just go to the local pub and find some drunk female that drools over a guy that speaks English as his first language if that was our primary motive.

Get over yourself! I support equality but when this sort of trollop is spouted, you lose support from the gender you try to represent!
23:20 February 14, 2012 by J Jack
when i was young i was told that men who cross their legs are poofters and I know that just sitting with straight knees jammed together looks really homo so what to do? mens and womens seating so all mens seats have a separater in the middle so ya don't look like a poofter or a homo, then ya look like a cyclist, even worse! Help!
00:17 February 15, 2012 by Kaethar
The only thing sadder than this is the people who take it seriously enough to be offended by it. Some people just enjoy being angry all the time I guess...
12:02 February 15, 2012 by abaeterno
blog off. This is not worth writing about.

Ok it annoys you, but lots of things annoy me.

Why do some people wait until they get to the barrier at the T-bana before they look in their handbag for their purse? Then they look for the card and eventually, they can slowly place it on the card reader??? This is the same in shops

Why do some people put so much perfume on that I gag when they stand next to me - polluting my air space.

Why write such utter rubbish. Get a life, get a man and enjoy the benefits of the reason certain men sit with their legs open.
20:16 February 15, 2012 by philster61
"Does my bum look big in this seat"?
20:45 February 15, 2012 by BierKerl
This is so ironic it makes me crazy! I'm a gay male and let me start by saying that some of my very closest friends are women and I love them and we touch all the time.

That being said, when I'm on the train going to or from work, a 200 pound man can be sitting next to me and we aren't even touching except for the odd time the train shakes and everyone leans one way or another. But if a 110 pound woman sits next to me she is all over me - legs touching, arms touching, her hand against my forearm as she turns a page, etc. No matter how much I lean against the wall, completely within the lines of the seat I'm in, she's touching me and has all kinds of space on the other side of her.

And standing is just as bad. There are three feet empty on the other side of her but she's pressed against me, and if I move over a few inches, she comes right over against me again. These are probably the women who go into work and tell their coworkers "this guy was all over me on the train!" Believe me, I didn't want you (or your cheap lilac supermarket lotion) touching me at all!!!!
23:39 February 15, 2012 by mcarroll1
You know that men understand what this spread means. The wider the spread the smaller the penis. See the guys with the widest spread covering their tiny manhood. I think women should adopt the same pose - legs spread wide hogging two seats just to get even with men. Especially in Summer.
04:59 February 16, 2012 by rise
#53 "You know that men understand what this spread means. The wider the spread the smaller the penis."

Yes. Just like in "the faster the car the smaller the penis". And similar to what I sometimes am saying: "the shorter the man's hight the louder he barks". ;)
05:49 February 16, 2012 by rwp
As a number of you have concluded, this is about showing consideration for your fellow man / woman. It disappoints me greatly that many prefer to wage a war on the opposite sex.

Why this waring? Searching for an answer to why would be something to get engaged in rather than waring I think. What has happened in society that makes selfishness more and more common??

I do have some pet peeves. One is that people going along the ailes often have large bags that they hit you with when they pass. There are people with large bags that don't knock into you. Guess why. Loud, distorted music is unpleasant. Not waiting for people to get off is rude as is paying more attention to your cell phone or other thing than to moving with the flow.
17:52 February 17, 2012 by persika
" As a number of you have concluded, this is about showing consideration for your fellow man / woman. It disappoints me greatly that many prefer to wage a war on the opposite sex.

Why this waring? Searching for an answer to why would be something to get engaged in rather than waring I think. What has happened in society that makes selfishness more and more common?? "

Thank you rwp!!!

What about asking the right questions and looking into our behavior instead of fueling lousy conflicts through blogs and whatnot?...

Passive-agressivity is way too common, and there's a terrible lack of respect and healthy communication in general...Whether it's the 10-bags-shopaholic, the screaming-on-the-phone little brat, the dude who needs to air his balls or the deadly latte-mammor, we're all in the same train. We should learn to share that damn space with respect and consideration for each other.

Making it a gender issue is irrelevant and dated.

Making our inability to behave in society a cultural issue is irrelevant and dated.

I don't care much nor for people's gender, neither for their nationality, but as human beings we shouldn't be taking it as an excuse to justify our inability to look at each others in the eyes and articulate a "ursäkta" or a "tack". (it's free, and try a little smile with it = great success)

If you pride yourself to live in a civilized society, well act as a responsible and civilized individual.
01:18 February 20, 2012 by oldonpalouse
This is the strangest article and set of responses I have ever seen!

'Weird Psychiatric Preoccupations" comes to mind.
13:34 February 20, 2012 by nobbo
Couldn't agree more with comment #56

and so....

The 12 Ways to Closeness (to the tune of "The 12 Days of Christmas")

On the way to Kista,

SL made them sit next to me,

Twelve sickly perfumes,

Eleven mobile conversations,

Ten noisy headphones,

Nine ladies doing make-up,

Eight hoodies swearing,

Seven rucksacks swinging,

Six kids a playing,

Five mouldy things,

Four dogs in bags,

Three French Men*,

Two balls an airing,

And a drunk man having a pee!

* If any French person is reading this I'm only kidding (about the English / French love hate relationsship), honestly there is nothing wrong with three

French men sitting next to me.

There are far more important issues in the world, if your not happy with someone elses behaviour, open your mouth and politely ask them to be a

good chap/lady and to refrane, forthwith, from what it is that they are doing that is so annoy you, and probably everyone else around, that are too

scared to speak up !

The joys of public transport.....show some respect for your fellow travellers.... or alternatively, take the car !
22:38 February 20, 2012 by Gjeebes
Sounds like this one just can't handle being in public. But we shouldn't worry, Sweden will sort out this inequality soon. Probably the best thing to do would just be to castrate all men. Or maybe, we should have buses for she and buses for he, that way men wouldn't have to mix in "woman space" at all! Listen up "hen", you will be squeezed up on public transport whether or not we are airing our balls! Stop being such a COW and get on with it! But you are right, with "500 likes", there's no stopping you! You go girl!
18:34 February 23, 2012 by IranianAtheist
5cm high, 6mm thick wall of Plexiglass between seats can solve the problem.
16:34 February 27, 2012 by Chickybee
What a silly woman.
02:28 February 29, 2012 by Mbenzi
I don't think she is silly - she is correct!

Macho does not equal being a man.

The guy in the photo isn't a man, because a MAN makes sure that a woman is comfortable!

I prefer my car, and I use those "mob containers" only when I have to. The reason is that they are uncomfortable, and a lot of people have to share a limited space.

SHARE means that we have to be emphatic and considerate - only a child would be excused because of not yet having empathy, but that man is obviously not a child.

All talk about not being able because of a sausage and whatever is just nonsense. Then put it upwards! And it is not a size-matter - button up your shirt if it is sticking out by your neck! If that is not enough, then travel standing on your feet!

No, this guy just prefers to sit comfortably at the cost of the woman beside him, and she is too polite to object.

This happens in the city with "the world's sexiest men"?

That guy does not act sexy at all.

I think it is very proper to teach impolite men to improve on their behavior.
16:50 October 10, 2012 by norgeJames
LOL you poor Swedish men have to put up with 'women' like this.

Swedish Men - Keep it up, be macho! it's better to be thought of as a jerk than a 'nice guy'.
20:40 October 11, 2012 by janeway
When a guy spreads his thighs in public transportation, I answer by putting a leg over a knee, thus causing his pants to be dirty from my shoes. Always helps!
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22 July

PROTECTING GIRLS FROM ABUSE OF THEIR RIGHTS (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today (22 July) my Prime Minister, David Cameron, and UNICEF, are hosting the world’s first #GirlSummit in London. The Summit’s aim is to mobilise domestic and international efforts to end the appalling practices of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Early Forced Marriage (CEFM). This is a high priority for the UK government and the Prime..." READ »

 

18 July

Starting over (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

" I’ve now been off the water for almost 14 days. At first I was totally gutted being forced into a rest period, I had Stockholm in my sights and apart from the pain and discomfort in my shoulder, spirits were high and I was starting to gain some momentum. The news hit me fairly hard and..." READ »

 
 
 
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