[guest post by Dana]
In case you forget during the outrage of the Paris massacre that there other pressing matters of outrage that must be addressed, let me assure you, there are. Things such as potty discrimination. Surely one of the uglier forms of discrimination that must be flushed immediately.
Feminist writer, media critic and activist Soraya Chemaly, whose areas of expertise include “Gender Violence and Women’s Equity, Sexual Assault, Women in Media, Rape, Gender-based Violence, Media Portrayal, Women in the Military, Gender Equality Issues, Free Speech, Gender Politics, Business and the Economy, Education, Media and Entertainment, Politics, Religion Social Justice”, is on a roll about the unfairness of women’s public restrooms. And you know whose fault that is? You’ve got it: men’s. In what suspiciously sounds like a bad case of penis envy, Chemaly is upset that all public restrooms are not equal-opportunity facilities:
“[W]omen 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.
She explains why public restrooms are sexist:
Women need to use bathrooms more often and for longer periods of time because: we sit to urinate (urinals effectively double the space in men’s rooms), we menstruate, we are responsible for reproducing the species (which makes us pee more), we continue to have greater responsibility for children (who have to use bathrooms with us), and we breastfeed (frequently in grotty bathroom stalls). Additionally, women tend to wear more binding and cumbersome clothes, whereas men’s clothing provides significantly speedier access. 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.
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.
So unfair! Why do our bodies have to be burdened with the ability to carry a new life, to nurse, to menstruate. If only we had a penis!
Look, Ms. Chemalya, we’re waiting in line because women take f-o-r-e-v-e-r to use a restroom. It’s not just a zip-in, zip-out experience. It’s a use the facility, wash your hands, do your makeup, fix your hair, gab with your friend who went to the restroom with you social event. Of course there is a line!
Note: Chemalya ignores that middle-aged men and older face their own biological difficulties which can cause lines at public restrooms for men as well.