Post # 1
So I’m pissed off at something that happened to my sister on the train the other day. I’m wondering what you would have done / said if you were her? We’re planning on starting a family in the next year or two, and I’m always worried about something like this happening, and how to stand up for myself.
My sister is just over 8 months pregnant, and was sitting in one of the priority seats on the train for those who are pregnant / senior / disabled. She was commuting to work in the morning, would have been about a 40 minute journey. Anyway, a drunk guy with a cane stumbles on the train, and no one gave him their seat. Maybe they didn’t notice because they were busy reading the paper or on their phone. My sister was looking around to see if anyone was going to offer their seat, but if they weren’t going to, then she would have. Then a young 20-something woman (who was standing) decided to call out my sister right away to give up her seat. My sister got up and gave the guy her seat – lots of people on the train saw what was happening, and didn’t say anything. Didn’t jump to offer their seat instead. Then the woman started berating my sister, saying “Just because you’re pregnant, it doesn’t get you a seat. It doesn’t mean you’re privileged!”. Then the drunk guy who took the seat started commenting “ohhh I love Asians, I love their bodies” and kept giving my sister the eye, which REALLY Creeped her out.
What would you have said / done ?! I think she was too shocked in the moment to think of what to say, and to be honest she was more pissed off at the young woman than the drunk guy. I’m more pissed off at the woman, as well as the rest of the people on the train?? There were a few people who noticed and just tsk’d and shook their head in disbelief (I’m assuming at what the woman was saying to my sister). My sister was worried that if she stood up for herself, it would come off like she’s entitled – I haven’t been pregnant before, but I think I can understand not knowing what to say in the moment. I think she was being picked on to give up her seat because she was pregnant.
And just a sidenote: my sister is one of the least selfish people I know. She’d never ask or demand for a seat, or be rude about it. So I’m certain its not like she barged onto the train to begin with, demanding for a seat, putting her bags on extra seats when it’s a full train, etc.
Post # 2
Well, your sister wouldn’t have even needed to ask…I’d be returning some unsolicited opinions right back to the young woman.
Your sister was where she was allowed to be. I’d love to see someone try the same with me. If they weren’t educated before, they’re going to be after I’m done.
Post # 3
I’d have told the lady to fuck right off.
Post # 4
At 8 months pregnant, I wouldn’t have got up. You say pregnant women are entitled to those seats. I would have said to the woman, “I’m 8 months pregnant, someone else can give up their seat.”
Now that I’m not pregnant, I’ll give up my seat for anyone who obviously needs it, whether or not I’m sitting in a priority seat. As should anyone else who can.
Post # 5
maocat : Well where I am those seats are not reserved for pregnant people so I guess I wouldn’t have said anything about it. I probably would have told the guy off for his comments though. Pregnant women are not a protected class so are no more deserving of a seat than anyone else who is not classified as disabled (and there are a lot of people with chronic illnesses/conditions who don’t get to sit in those seats despite a seat being best for them).
If where you are those seats are reserved for pregnant people then I would have pointed to the signage that says that and say I was entitled to sit there. And in that case as an observer I would have spoken up and tried to get someone to give up their seat (or given up mine if I was sitting) to either your sister or the man with a cane (depending on who had the greater mobility issue).
Post # 6
j_jaye : Being pregnant doesn’t classify you as disabled but it does make it much more difficult and more unsafe to stand on public transport. Your posture changes, your sense of balance changes, you’re much more likely to fall if the train lurches. And if you do fall, it could cause you to miscarry or cause you other harm because you will instinctively fall in a way to protect your unborn baby rather than yourself. Depending on the woman you can also feel faint when standing for too long, dizzy, sick, tired. My first pregnancy was without complications and my second is so far as well, touchwood, but when I’m on public transport I have to sit down otherwise I start feeling very ill very quickly. Walking is fine but standing still in a moving vehicle isn’t…
Sorry if my comment sounds angry, it’s not aimed at you so much as at the woman who asked someone to give up their seat at 8 months pregnant.. all I can say is that that woman has obviously never been pregnant herself.
My advice is, if you’re pregnant and you know you’re not comfortable standing, don’t look at other people like you’re willing to give up your seat for them, and prepare a polite reply in advance in case anyone asks you to. My response would be ”I’m sorry, I’m pregnant and I’m not feeling well. I’m sure someone else will be happy to give up their seat for this gentleman/lady.”
Post # 7
Also, when pregnant I find it easier not to sit in priority seats if possbile or to sit somewhere more out of the way, just because it minimizes the risk that someone will not realize that you’re pregnant and ask you to get up. Last time when I was nearly 9 months pregnant someone asked me to get up for an old woman, after hesitating I did, because I was getting off at the next stop anyway, and when the woman who asked me to get up saw my enormous tummy she was extremely embarassed and apologetic.
Post # 8
I call BS on anyone trying to argue that pregnant (especially heavily pregnant) women aren’t more deserving of a seat on public transport than (able bodied) anyone else. They absolutely are and people who try to argue otherwise are straight up arse holes.
I’m happy to give up my seat to anyone who looks like they are having a harder day than I am, Pregnant, disabled, injured or just feeling ill, exhausted or upset. I’m happy to give my seat and not be a dick about it.
Post # 9
People who don’t think an 8 month pregnant woman should have a seat clearly have never been pregnant.
But I probably wouldn’t have said anything honestly, because people are psycho and I’d rather stand than get in a confrontation with some crazy woman.
Post # 10
It’s not about being entitled. It’s about it being possibly dangerous for a pregnant woman to stand on public transport.
Now who was in the rest of the special seats? Were they all elderly/disabled people? Because then, even though I’d still be annoyed at that woman, I’d understand more and probably get up anyway. But were the rest of those seats full of healthy adults? Fuck that.
ETA: I’ve never been pregnant and I understand how dangerous it is. Seriously, who doesn’t get that?
Post # 11
If I were your sister, I probably would’ve done what she did and just kept quiet because I’m not eager to get into a confrontation with a stranger.
However, if I were another passenger on the train with a seat and saw that happen, I would’ve offered my seat to the pregnant woman.
I’m in DC and I’m pretty sure (though not 100%) that the priority seats are for those with physical disablities, those who are elderly, AND those who are pregnant.
Post # 12
llevinso : I think it’s important to remember that you can’t always tell “healthy adults”.
Disabilities aren’t always blatant. So really, people just need to not assume and not try to pass judgements whether for a pregnant woman (for all the reasons pointed out with pregnancy and restrictions and because someone with a disability could also be pregnant) or any person that could have a disability and need priority seating.
Point blank, the stranger just needs to mind her own business and anyone that feels well enough to stand will stand at their own discretion.
Post # 13
soymilk : That’s very true. I’m just saying that if you’re kicked out of your seat while visibly pregnant while other seemingly “normal” people are still sitting down, that’s ridiculous. There’s no way that every other person sitting down on that train had a disability. Not just in the priority seating either. No one sitting in the whole train car thought to get up to give this woman her seat?
Post # 14
maocat : I’d have told the woman to screw. I’m 28 weeks pregnant right now and while I don’t expect people to jump up and give me a seat (most days I’d rather stand anyways because my back is sore) I have ZERO problem asking for a seat if I’m really desperate and need to sit. And if I was already sitting I’d say “I’m pregnant and really need to sit right now. Is there a reason you can’t give up your seat?”
Post # 15
Westwood : This exactly! Fully agree. I never said anything either to avoid a confrontation but I also could not keep my balance, at all, on a moving train that far along. My husband, literally, had to catch me a few times.