Yesterday, Olivia Wilde reminded us all that hell hath no fury like a pregnant woman scorned. Taking to Twitter, the actress posted a short (but totally relatable) rant calling out the numerous NYC subway riders who failed to offer her a seat during her trip — despite the fact that the train car was packed and she was, presumably, very visibly pregnant.
“NBD, able-bodied [subway] riders who won’t give your seat to a GIANT preggo,” she went off. “I’ll just stand riiiiight next to your head and pray I go into labor.”
And honestly, who can blame her? I mean, pregnancy is difficult and uncomfortable enough without having to stand for 30 straight minutes, swaying on your swollen feet. Without having to protect your protruding belly from elbows, purses, bags, and briefcases. Besides, offering your seat to those who are elderly or disabled and/or pregnant is just common courtesy. It’s the polite thing to do.
But not everyone agrees, and even though Wilde’s tweet — which has been favorited some 3,100 times — has attracted a lot of positive attention, not all of it’s been positive. Some Twitter users feel that Wilde’s rant only shows she’s “entitled” and “spoiled.” Others have noted that pregnancy isn’t an illness or a disability. (However, newsflash: According to New York’s short-term disability laws, pregnancy is actually seen as just that — a disability.) And some, like one Twitter user by the name of “Kyle,” don’t believe those who are expecting should expect special treatment. In fact, according to Us Weekly, “Kyle” offered the following remarks in a since-deleted tweet:
“1. I didn’t tell u to get pregnant 2. Get an Uber (you can afford it) 3. I paid the same amt as you for the subway ride.”
(Oh my lord. He didn’t; he really didn’t.)
Even though the vicious tweet is now gone from the Twitterverse, the comments the user shared reveal a much bigger problem: the fact that this mentality still exists at all.
Make no mistake: As a New Yorker myself — a New Yorker who rode the subway system for the entire duration of her pregnancy, in the moments after her water broke, and right through the beginning stages of labor on her way to the hospital — I can say for certain that people like “Kyle” are the exception. In my experience at least, most men and women will happily offer their seats when they see a pregnant woman in need of one. Most men and women will insist you take said seat even if you refuse. Even if you are only going one stop. Still, experiences like Wilde’s happen every day.
Even I, who feel I saw the best New York had to offer during my pregnancy, encountered my fair share of “Kyle’s.” And I too had those days, where subway cars full of people seemingly didn’t care to give up their seat for me. Or maybe they just cared too much about themselves to notice the needs of others. To notice the big pregnant belly pressed against the back of their iPhone. And it sucked.
(No, it wasn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, but it sucked none-the-less.)
So to the “Kyle’s” of the world I say this: Stop. Just stop for one second and think about the experiences of others, the needs of others, and maybe consider some common courtesy while you’re at it. Sure, your fare was the same price as Wilde’s, but empathy is invaluable. Being personable and polite is priceless.More On