Saturday, May 12, 2007

Jostling pregnant women


Isn't it just common courtesy to offer your seat on public transportation to a pregnant woman who has just stepped on? I recently started taking the T to work again (for those of you who aren't from Boston, that's the subway), and boy did it make me angry when not one, but two pregnant women had to stand, attempt to hold on to the bar, juggle a briefcase, and try to protect their precious bellies from the jostling of the busy rush hour T traffic. I was standing, too, or I would have gladly given up my seat for them. But it amazes and disgusts me that so many commuters "pretend" not to notice (nose in a book, furiously texting on their PDA, or sitting with their eyes closed) when a pregnant woman gets on.

I swear I almost ripped a man's head off this morning when he didn't offer an obviously pregnant woman his spot. I gave him the evil eye and shook my head disdainfully at him, but he didn't seem to notice that, either.

Is this view anti-feminist? Some men would say so. Afterall, why should they give up their spot for a woman? Isn't it first come, first served on the T? I suppose that the woman doesn't have a right to the spot, and she should not be treated as ill or weak just because she's pregnant, but hell, why can't people be a little bit nicer? It isn't about being a woman in this case, its about being a person who is carrying a heavy load, whose feet might hurt, or who might be feeling nauseous or exhausted. I'd give up my seat for her.

Boston needs to tune in to Tokyo. I read on Feministing that last summer, Tokyo rail companies began handing out badges to pregnant women who take public transportation.

Pretty brilliant if you ask me. Sounds like a good way to shame all of those serial ignorers into paying attention and doing the right thing. And even without the badges, don't let me ever catch YOU reading or daydreaming so hard that you don't notice someone who is right in front of you, or your ass is grass.


Sheree Lenhart-Kreusel said...

I believe the term used to be called "manners" a word that our society no longer uses because it is old fashioned. Such small nice gestures as "please", "thank-you", saying "hello" when your eyes accidentally meet, a curtosy wave in the car when a driver lets you in, and offering a seat to a pregnant woman caring another human in her womb for goodness sakes, are just acts of human kindness that make our lives more tolerable on a day to day basis. Let's all try remember to be a little less self absorbed and look at others around us more to see if we can not do a small thing to make someone's else's day a tiny bit nicer. It will make you feel better too. Try smiling it can be contagious.

Julia said...

Here here! I've heard that Boston is worse than some other cities as far as rudeness goes, but this self-absorbed attitude is surely rearing its ugly head all over the country.

My personal goal is to smile at women as I pass them by. All too often, other women give me a judgmental up-and-down and hightail it away. You won't catch me doing that. Try complimenting a stranger sometime. It feels fabulous!