Manspreading, or man-sitting, is the practice of sitting in public transport with legs wide apart, thereby covering more than one seat. - Wikipedia
Manspreading. Good ol' manspreading.
Though we’ve only recently given this utterly interesting phenomenon a name, it’s been around for a long, long time. I can’t recall a single time in recent history (say, the past years at least) that I rode the bus and didn’t see a case of it.
It’s like a disease, and a cure seems far out of reach.
The issue at hand
In a world where inequality is the norm, it could be said that the issue of manspreading is but a small one. I, personally, would argue that the issue is still about 20 to 40 cm too large.
Of course there are issues (concerning feminism, general equality and general sexism) that are much more pressing than that of manspreading or, by result, not having a seat on the bus. That doesn't mean, however, that we should take this one seriously.
You see, the issue isn't so much the manspreading itself or even the fact that you are taking up space that could be occupied by another person or even the fact that this often happens when a bus is super full and there are no other seats available.
The issue is that it has become so self-evident that most men do it without even realizing it, let alone considering the effect it has on their environment. And, to top that, those few that do, consider themselves to be fully within their right.
State of Obliviousness
I'm going to go ahead and blame the patriarchy here. From a young age on, men are thought to be tough and commanding and to take charge and take power. From a young age on, men learn that they can.
Men are portrayed in positions of power and wealth and in situations that are daring and dangerous. Women, on the other hand, in caring and nurturing positions. Men rule, women do not.
Even men who believe that men and women should, in essence, be able to do the same jobs or pursue the same educations and lifechoices, may well find themselves stuck in the ideals of the patriarchy when it comes to every day things - like riding the bus.
I am accutely aware that most of the men on public transportation are, in fact, not aware of what they're doing. That is why it's so crucial to point this matter out to men and, hopefully, get them to realize that their way of sitting is, not only unconciously sexist but also, extremely unpractical and - I'm sorry to break it to you - in essence rather selfish.
Fully within their right
Because, let's face it:
You really do not need that much extra seating space for your balls. You do not have a member the size of an elephant's. I have, in all honesty, never met a man who has such wondrously large and hard genitalia (all the time) that they can not sit in a chair regularly without crushing them between their equally impressive, powerful thighs.
I am, let me be clear about this, not speaking about a space-margin that is about the width of your shoulders. That seems, to me, a fairly natural way of sitting. I understand that pressing your legs together may be uncomfortable if you have a penis stuck in between them - nobody is asking that of you. But let me demonstrate the difference:
Note: if these groin-oriented pictures make you uncomfortable, be aware that this is the view you, yourself, provide when participating in these practices.
As you can see, the gentleman on the left is spreading his legs, aligning them more or less with his shoulders. It is true that men - generally speaking - have broader shoulders, and thus it makes sense that they would have to sit slightly wider to sit comfortably. I am also not arguing that genitalia have a part to play in this. Yet, still, the man on the left sits within his own seat, leaving enough room for the people around him to sit comfortably (as much as is allowed by public transportation).
The man on the right, however, takes up twice the space, and as we can see, twice the seats. Not only is this selfish and inconsiderate (especially on full buses/trains/etc), but the last thing I want see on the tram on my way to work is your crotch. Really.
The argument is often that it is uncomfortable not to sit like this last example, but so is having to stand the entire busride when there could have been available seats, or having your thigh pressed into the armhold because your legs are pushing me into it.
As a sidenote, and to add to my point that feminism is about equality, I would like to point out that I get equally frustrated by women who put their bag on the seat next to them and thus taking in an entire second seat, or people who sit on the aisle-seat of an empty two-person bench and thus succesfully block off the window seat to other people. Both are, also, extremely inconsiderate and selfish.