Denying women their god-given right to pee
Gendered restroom spaces have endured intense public scrutiny lately, but usually from the “stop with your fascist gender labels and let me pick my preferred pronoun!” crowd.
So this piece in TIME is slightly outside of the “ban public restroom gender divisions” norm.
Soraya Chemaly, the author, describes herself as a, “media critic and activist whose work focuses on the role of gender in politics, religion and popular culture.” Context is important.
The story begins with her visit to the the loo at The British Museum:
Despite years of “potty parity” laws, women are still forced to stand in lines at malls, schools, stadiums, concerts, fair grounds, theme parks, and other crowded public spaces. This is frustrating, uncomfortable, and, in some circumstances, humiliating. It’s also a form of discrimination, as it disproportionately affects women.
Some say “discrimination”, others say “biology”, but let’s continue:
After counting the women, I tweeted, “Dear @britishmuseum there are FIFTY women and girls standing in line for the loo while the men’s room has zero line #everydaysexism.” Immediately, people responded with the suggestion that women use the men’s room. But even more responses were defensive, along the lines of “How on god’s green earth did you arrive at the conclusion that this was sexist?”
Let me count the ways.
Because I like you (probably), I’ll spare you the bathroom details, but Chemaly makes a few interesting, if not completely
horrendously selfish and misinformed gendercentric claims; a common theme in modern “feminism.”
The first being that, “we [women] are responsible for reproducing the species.” Barring some unprecedented evolutionary leap, and the Virgin Mary, until reading this enlightening TIME article, I was unaware human women were capable of asexual reproduction. My ignorance is probably just a coordinated effort by the patriarchy to keep me repressed.
Chemaly also insists, “we [women] continue to have greater responsibility for children (who have to use bathrooms with us).” In the era of the Stay-At-Home-Dad, and personally witnessing many a man accompanying their offspring to the potty, I’m not sure how this is possible. Plus history.
To her point, why do women now bear greater responsibility for their children than women of prior generations? If Chemaly would like to consider that having children out of wedlock is more prevalent than ever, and if she wanted to be honest that this phenomena is largely due to what feminists deem a success in their liberation movement, then OK. You can’t be liberated and insist on rearing a child on your own and then complain that you are rearing a child on your own. I mean, you can, but that’s what most call a “hypocrite.”
But in a classic example of the difference between surface “equality” and genuine equity, many public restrooms continue to be facilities that are equal in physical space, while favoring men’s bodies, experiences, and needs.
Some women won’t be happy until that Y chromosome functions exactly like its buddy, X. Relatedly, do they still teach biology in school?
Legislation to address the design and provision of public restrooms in new construction often requires more space for women’s rooms. But that has hardly made a dent in many of our oldest and most used public spaces. This is especially true in powerful institutions, such as schools and government complexes, where old buildings, and their gendered legacies, dominate. In the United States, for example, women in the House of Representatives didn’t get a bathroom near the Speaker’s Lobby until 2011.
Name one time the government has ever done anything quickly. One.Time. I’ll wait.
Women aren’t standing in lines because we bond over toilet paper pattern or because we’re narcissistic and vain. We’re standing in line because our bodies, like those of trans and queer people, have been historically shamed, ignored, and deemed unworthy of care and acknowledgement. We shouldn’t have to wait or postpone having these needs fairly met in public space.
The agony, the HORROR! What kind of society have we created when one is required to wait in line to use a sanitary indoor facility? And how DARE James Madison omit the guarantee of a shorter restroom line for women in the Bill of Rights!
I for one, stand in ardent opposition to the “right to pee” movement. No offense, men. Y’all are great, wonderful, amazing creatures, but you’re also gross. Sharing a bathroom with your kind at home is one thing, but being forced to share the public john with the whole lot of you? That is cause for protest.
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