(Un)Popular Opinion

Maybe One Day Men Will Have Their Own MRT Coach, But Not Right Now. Here’s Why

Or not.

The discussion about women having their own coach in public transport has been ongoing for decades, especially in the case of the MRT in Malaysia. It is undoubtedly a successful initiative, previously pioneered by KTM.

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There are several reasons for implementing such coaches, one of which is to provide safety for women.

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The ongoing debate on women-only coaches

However, now it’s 2023, and we are on the brink of 2024 as I write this.

Mrt coach - women only

Some men still refuse to accept the idea of women having their own coach in public transport.

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Consequently, we can still observe instances where, in the absence of a designated ‘abang MRT’ to monitor, some men shamelessly enter women’s coaches.

To these men, as a man myself, I can somehow understand their argument: “if women can have their own coach, why can’t we have the same privilege?

But here’s the crucial point: women are often more vulnerable, and that’s not a bad thing.

There are several reasons why men do not typically have dedicated coaches:

1. Safety concerns

Women’s coaches are all about safety. See, women often deal with more unwanted attention, both in words and actions, when they use public transport.

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By giving them a separate space, the authorities are trying to make these icky incidents less likely.

2. Making things Right

Women-only coaches are like a remedy for an old problem.

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You know how women have put up with a bunch of harassment and weird behavior in public places for ages? Well, this is the way to give them a comfy and secure environment.

3. Resource allocation

Setting up men’s coaches means more trains, infrastructure, and stuff.

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This could be a logistical challenge, especially in densely populated urban areas with limited public transport resources.

4. Safety for vulnerable men

We should remember that safety concerns aren’t exclusive to one gender.

Some men might face safety issues too, but these could be more about violence, theft, or harassment than just gender.

Unwanted behaviour and uncomfortable situations

However, it becomes problematic when individuals, especially men, take advantage of this vulnerability.

This can manifest as unwanted stares from head to toe, deliberate knee-touching, and even groping.

Men sitting in mrt women coach
Photo via WeirdKaya

I’ve been in situations like this before, and I can attest that it’s highly uncomfortable. Just because we share the same gender doesn’t make it acceptable.

Unfortunately, certain individuals engage in such behavior, irrespective of their sexuality. Perverse conduct can take many forms, but it is more prevalent among men.

I may tend to overlook such behaviour, but you don’t need to experience it firsthand to understand why it is disturbing and why women have been provided with their own coach.

The most vulnerable group in this context is women, as they often have limited opportunities to defend themselves.

‘This is your fault for wearing this type of clothing’

Even when they try to do so, they face victim-blaming, with phrases like “this is your fault for wearing this type of clothing,” “you’re too revealing,” “you’re too sexy,” and other endless justifications.

I can’t stress this enough; there are instances where women, particularly Muslim women wearing full, super-sized hijab clothing that covers their entire body, have been sexualised by straight men.

Woman sitting on a train
For illustration purposes only. Photo via Pexels

It’s important to emphasise that the issue at hand is not what women wear but rather the behaviour of men who objectify and sexualise everything.

Lust and sex are not interchangeable, and we are fully aware of this. As humans, we experience urges, but we are blessed with common sense to control our impulses.

Seeing a beautiful woman nearby shouldn’t immediately lead to explicit thoughts.

If it does, then there are underlying issues that must be addressed promptly, preferably through therapy or a comprehensive counselling program.

Bottom line: Keeping women safe and sound

In the end, women’s coaches address long-standing safety issues, but having separate coaches for men isn’t a piece of cake either and, it does not compromise the equality of gender privileges, too.

It simply recognises the need to provide extra protection for women.

And men, please do yourself a favour; refrain from entering women’s coaches unless specific situations necessitate it.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and does not purport to reflect the opinions or views of WeirdKaya.

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