Friday, October 03, 2008

Final Experiment Update

If you recall from a few months ago, I was doing a little "experiment", well, more like a social observation, where I, as a pregnant woman increasing in belly span by the week, would see if anyone gives up their seat for me.

Now at 37 weeks, I've reached my last day of work, and I am not at all surprised to report that the number of passengers offering me a seat is ZERO. I understand and have heard all the potential reasons why people do not...they don't want to assume someone is pregnant, they may not have seen you, or pregnant women are not "handicapped". True, very true, and if you read my previous entries about the "experiment", you'll know that I do not feel that I am entitled in any way and am proud to hold on tightly to the safety bars to maintain my balance at this late stage in the pregnancy.

Still, I can't help but wonder, has our society become so self-centered? All those excuses aside, many expectant BART passengers do look undoubtedly pregnant and some clearly look like they need to take a seat, and even during those moments, no one gives up a seat?? Or a frail older woman struggling to stand straight is right in front of this seated young man, and he turns around the other way and goes to sleep. How can one do that??

This is not about me, it goes way beyond that. Frankly, I'm disappointed that we've become such a selfish and uncaring society. Of course there are still considerate people out there who believe in helping others, but seems like that population in dwindling.

One thing I know for sure is that I will continue to give up my seat for anyone in need. Call me traditional, but I still believe in respecting elders and helping those more in need. And in many years from now, when my first born grows up, I will teach him the very same thing.


Anonymous said...

I've had several people give up their seats to me recently in the PM commute time; I'm not pregnant, so I wonder if its because I look old and tired? (at 38)

bartmusings said...

that's encouraging to hear. maybe i've just been riding during the wrong times. i definitely have been offered seats in the past, not while pregnant...very rarely, but it has happened.

bartmusings said...

but just to be clear, no one HAS to give up anything...I'm only talking about kind and considerate gestures when someone might need to sit down a little more than you do.

Anonymous said...

Chivalry is not dead, but you can bet, it is damm close to being dead! I can blame it on many things, but that would be a very long post. I would like to point out, it is not only with men, but women as well! I have gone out with many a women,who do not even know the proper side to stand on!

How can a man be a man, when today's society tell's him, "Women do not want to be treated differently, than a man?"

There is hope:

Nice to know, I am not alone

Anonymous said...

maybe this has been mentioned in previous posts, but before we get any deeper into social commentary (although i do sorta agree with you), what would be the standards for giving up your seat?

i guess what i'm trying to say is, up to what point/how far would you go out of your way to give up your seat? i'm sure in any given train car there are people who would give up their seat, but can't because their not in position to do so. if i'm in a more accessible seat, i'd totally give it up to someone.... but i usually sit next to the window around the center of the car... so while i'd give my seat up, i'm not exactly in the position to do so...

i'm not a regular rider but over summers i have taken BART daily both to SF and across the bay (from peninsula), so it's kinda easy for me to find a seat away from the doors. and as considerate as i would be, i'm not going to sit in those accessible seats when i first get on, with the intent of giving it up when the time comes. i'm one of those who's more likely to stand than to take one of those seats on a somewhat crowded car. and now with the possibility that i might have to ride daily if i find a job in SF, the more i'd be inclined to always stand anyways (not exactly fond of sitting on BART seats with my work clothes).

i'm sure there's more people who would be willing to give up their seats too but generally just aren't in the position to do so. i guess it's really like luck of the draw, to be on the right train car with one of those considerate people who also happen to be occupying a seat that a pregnant/elderly/handicapped/etc. person could reasonably get to.

Flicktron said...

I haven't grown up in the States, and I've lived in the US for 3+ years now. The funny thing is that on BART, people are more fanatical about their seats.

I'm tired of everyone giving excuses and trying to right their reasons. They're all wrong. It's polite, and it's considerate. I would've give up my seat in a heartbeat had I seen you on BART.

I remember I sat on BART close to three years ago, when I first came here. I saw three women, one young, middle-aged and old. I was in the corner away from the doors and it was high traffic.

There were three or four guys as well, and they were looking around to sit down. The women just stood there. I waved over the elderly lady and made her sit down in my seat.

That's the proper thing to do.

Anonymous said...

I have given up my seat to women who were pregnant. I do so with trepidation because you don't want to make a mistake but I'd rather offend someone in error than not offer up a seat to a prgenant woman who really needs it. I also will give up my seat to someone who is elderly or on crutches. That's just how I was raised.

I'm getting on in years but not quite a senior and young people occasionally give me seats in the morning. I always thank them at the time and again when I/they get off the train. I really do appreciate it.

By the way, I am a woman.

Anonymous said...

I give up a seat to someone who appears to need it. That includes the elderly (though not necessarily, if they appear to be quite robust); pregnant women; people with canes, casts, or other medical paraphernalia; people who look obviously tired or sick or like their feet hurt.

On the other hand, with occasional sciatica and plantar fasciitis, I'm often one of the latter, so I feel entitled to a seat, within reason.

Anonymous said...

Funny timing - this morning I saw a young woman poke a young man out of sleep and tell him to get up and give his seat to an older woman. It was great. I am very attuned to giving up seats to older/disabled/pregnant folks and I almost never see young and fit people sitting and ignoring the curtesy. I don't know what train you're on....

Also, the best rule for giving up a seat is to just stand up! No need to offer it and risk offending the old-looking-young-person, just stand up and let everyone else around decide who deserves it most.

Anonymous said...

You are approaching it all wrong. Studies have shown that when you simply ASK for a seat, you are rarely if ever refused, even if you are not pregnant or otherwise physically impaired. People just give up the seat.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease on this one. Can't hardly blame others for not doing what you won't do for yourself.

Anonymous said...

"this morning I saw a young woman poke a young man out of sleep and tell him to get up and give his seat to an older woman. It was great."

I dispute that was great, unless the woman was also standing. Even then, I would hope she would find some other young person with a seat to disturb. Usually when people sleep on BART, it is because they are extremely tired, and for many, this sleep is relied on for a productive day at work. Waking a sleeping rider on BART should be a recourse of last resort.

Just last week the guy sitting next to me fell asleep, started snoring loudly, and leaned over on my shoulder. He was practically in my lap, it was hilarious. He looked like he was in construction or some other physical labor. So what did I do? I let the guy sleep on my shoulder from Lafayette to Montgomery! He needed it!