Even as the public’s awareness of sexist behaviour, and what constitutes consent, continues to grow, sadly women still face sexual harassment in public places as they go about their daily lives – in 2017.
Public transport is a breeding ground for such threatening behaviour, what with its jam-packed carriages and the pressure to keep our heads down and not cause a scene when faced with unacceptable conduct. Unwilling to sit back and watch women being sexually harassed on its premises, the Mexico City Metro has come up with a novel way to draw attention to the problem.
As its name suggests, the so-called ‘penis seat’ isn’t your average uncomfortable public transport chair. The plastic seat is moulded in the shape of a man, and features a chest with nipples and a belly button, legs and – here’s the kicker – a flaccid penis.
The seat is “exclusive for men”, according to an accompanying sign, and is designed to give them an insight into how uncomfortable it is to experience sexual harassment on public transport, reported the Mirror.
"It’s uncomfortable to sit here but it doesn’t compare with the sexual violence that women suffer in their everyday lives," so reads a notice on the floor beneath the seat.
An accompanying campaign video, which admittedly looks a little staged, shows commuters looking perplexedly at the chair and men’s baffled reactions – and subsequent embarrassment – upon sitting on it.
“Nine out of 10 women in Mexico City have been victims of some form of sexual violence,” reads the end slide of the full-length video. It's a shocking statistic that certainly warrants an attention-grabbing stunt of this nature.
A previous campaign from the team behind the 'penis seat' involved filming men's bums and projecting them onto screens in the city's underground stations to highlight sexism against women, the Mirror reported.
While a single chair on one city's metro system probably won't solve the problem of sexual harassment, it has at least shone a spotlight on the issue.