Note: Seph at The Woven, Jewels at According to Jewels, and I are blogging about this question today. We purposefully did not share our responses with one another ahead of time. After you’ve finished this post go check out their blogs! I can’t wait to see what they have to say about this topic.
My one word answer: penises.
Half of the population has one, but no one wants to be surprised by one while in a vulnerable position.
What is it about penises that western society finds so frightening, you ask?
North American men are assumed to be predators until proven otherwise. From advertisements to pop songs to abstinence-only sex education, we learn early on in life that men’s sex drives are strong and difficult to control. Men are stereotyped as people constantly interested in sex who would do almost anything to sleep with someone new.
Allowing men and women to use the same bathroom, then, would send dangerously mixed signals
While defecation would almost certainly take place in the stalls, most men’s rooms also have urinals. In mixed gender bathrooms women run the risk of seeing stray penises every time nature calls. If men’s sexuality is as unpredictable and dangerous as we’ve been taught, then, this is an invitation for sexual assault.
After all, you have to unbutton your pants or lift your dress or skirt in order to urinate, and much more skin must be shown when you defecate. People fear that some folks won’t be able to differentiate between undressing to void your bladder and doing so for sexual purposes.
As we’re also fed the lie that rape is completely “preventable” if you take the correct steps, sending men and women into the same bathroom is an untenable position.
What I find really interesting about these arguments is that they assume everyone is heterosexual, only men can be rapists, and only women can be raped. No other possibilities are considered. This is a good thing in the sense that sexual orientation has absolutely nothing to do with needing to use the bathroom, but it seems odd that our cultural hangups are so specific.
Readers, what do you think?
8 Responses to Why Don’t Men and Women Share Public Washrooms? A Synchroblog
Pingback: Why Don't Men and Women Share Public Bathrooms? A Synchroblog
So interesting to see how different your approach to this question is than my own. I never went to assault or danger factors. I think when people are sick and want to hurt people they will find a way whether we share a bathroom or not. Just my thoughts.
It was quite interesting to see the diversity of our answers!
Sorry I took so long to get back to
you. My car got broken into and my wife and son got attacked by a
dog. What a shitty day 🙁
I know what you mean about how men are portrayed in Western-culture… No! Strike that. Not Western-culture. Western-MEDIA. (After all, we’re educated by movies, fiction, TV and TV commercials, aren’t we?)
Men are stereotyped as so much more than predators-until-proven-innocent. (You know, on a side thought, that might be another great topic).
(Why aren’t there gay-men on men (gay
or otherwise) rapes running rampart? Why don’t we see lesbians attacking women in public washrooms! … … …
“Men are stereotyped as so much more than predators-until-proven-innocent. (You know, on a side thought, that might be another great topic).”
Ha, my original draft actually veered deeply into this topic, but I didn’t want to sidetrack the conversation.
I’m sorry you had such an awful day. I hope your wife and son are ok.
Sounds like another awesome idea of another post (synchroblog post…?)
Would you be interested in doing another Synchroblog fi we could find a cool topic?