It is definitely an adventure, and honestly no candidates speak to me, I cannot imagine how the story will unfold. Then we have the debate over public restrooms, and I found this following article fascinating.
So I got up early this morning and decided to do a little reading on the history of “urinary segregation.” I was surprised to find that there are many books and law journal articles on this subject. I wanted to know the origins of sex-segregated bathrooms and the intent behind their legislation.
Did y’all know that it was only a century ago that public bathrooms for women in the U.S. became widely available? For the most part, bathrooms were outside in the form of individual stalls that everybody used. But then cholera and other infectious diseases begged for public heath reform. Plumbing and architecture and sanitary provisions changed all that and forced bathrooms indoors.
I read that the fight for segregated bathrooms dates back to the late 19th century and then fired up with intensity by the 1920s when most states had enacted laws thanks to feminist activism. Before then, public restrooms in western countries were all male. Women had to improvise. I read that women sometimes were forced to urinate in gutters or they had to carry a small personal urinette they discretely slipped under those long-ass skirts and then poured it out. If they went out they couldn’t eat or drink too much for fear that they might have to relieve themselves in public. That’s cray!
Some of the pieces I read argue that the lack of bathroom facilities for females reflected a popular attitude that women should stay at home.
In 1878, the feminist Rose Adams of the Ladies Sanitary Association pushed authorities to create public restrooms for women because they would “help a class who naturally find it difficult to ask for public consideration in this matter, while experiencing grievous suffering.” Almost ten years later, in 1887, Massachusetts became the first state to enact a bathroom law.
There’s also the fact that the Industrial Revolution brought more women entering into public spaces like factories. Men freaked out about women invading THEIR domain! They had all kinds of moral panics that revolved around a discourse of protecting public health, women’s bodies, and the social order. (At the same time, white people were freaking out about using public facilities with black folks.) Likewise, today we are witnessing anxieties about male-born women “encroaching” on private spaces for female-born women.
SOME opponents of the NC law see it as an aggressive form of patriarchy and male entitlement manifest. And they see it even as a sinister attempt to redefine “male” and “female” using academic theory and psuedo-science to justify the erosion of hard-fought battles for women’s rights. They argue that feminists who co-sign with a transgender “agenda” are undermining female-born women.
Lots of folks are expressing concern through “what if” questions about the safety of women and children. Some of it is cloaked in hateful rhetoric. Some of it not. Some of those concerns have been rebutted with logic, reasoning, and facts and statistics. Some of the questions and concerns have been written off as paranoia and transphobia in an effort to bully people into silence so that folks don’t have to wrestle with contradictions and have hard uncomfortable conversations where everybody’s voice can be heard.
It appears that feminists, who fought for segregated bathrooms in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, considered them a major step toward providing access, privacy and safety for women. Restrooms were essential to women being able to participate in public life and providing a safe haven in a male-dominated world where women were always considered vulnerable to exploitation. The early feminists wanted women to have their own private space where they didn’t have to worry about what a man might do to them. Today, many feminists and other allies are now fighting for male-born men (this debate is mostly about transwomen) to have unfettered access to those same designated spaces for women, for legitimate safety reasons.
One thing is clear, no matter which side you fall on this bathroom debate, throughout history, public bathrooms have been places where private acts, fear, vulnerability, and seediness among strangers have overflowed into all kinds of messiness around gender, class, race and sexuality. And here we find ourselves again at this moment in history as a society trying to adjust to new boundaries and new fears (real and imagined), topsy-turvy relationships, inversions, and lots of contradictions.
“Greenspan found that Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews and Muslim Arabs are a nearly perfect genetic match and he hypothesizes that both, quite likely, originated from the same tribe, long ago, in the Middle East.
“The Jews are from the Middle East and it doesn’t matter whether you’re Ashkenazi or Sephardi, you look the same on the Y chromosome,” said Greenspan. “There is almost no difference between Ashkenazim, Sephardim, and Muslim Arabs.”
That’s all I got for today folks,