In her work Emily Bazelon sheds light on one of the most private and vulnerable places that we all share: the restroom. Many people, including myself, take for granted the simple luxury of walking into our respective toiletries and walking out, knowing which we belong to and being accepted whether it’s the mensroom or women’s room. However for those that are transgendered or gender fluid that is to the case. Bazelon points out the fact that in many places across the country and across the world, people that identify as something other than what is classified as standard do not have the same luxury as many people do. A transgendered woman is forced to enter a male bathroom in many places, and what isn’t talked about in the article is that for a lot of transgendered men and women this often dangerous and sometimes deadly. In places like Houston where people in masse voted against the accommodation of transgendered idividuals, some even stating that they don’t want men in a woman’s bathroom. Accommodation is a word that is under a microscope in this article and I believe it’s because many people are unaware of what it truly means. Some believe the word to mean “having to give away to make room for someone else’s needs” whereas the true definition is a lot closer to “an equal exchange for a more harmonic outcome.” Either definition you use, it is still no excuse as to why the morally compassionate individual cannot accommodate someone just trying to fit in in this world. Bazelon brings up the good point when stating that the women’s bathroom is more than just somewhere to go when your body asks of you, but it’s a place where girls can’t all and feel vulnerable and safe with one another, and a transgendered woman who wants to be apart of that world has the right to do so.
In the modern era of gender fluidity and a much broader concept of what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman, and everything in between, we are coming against the issue of how to accommodate for this new world. In her piece “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society” Suzanne Tick argues for a more gender fluid internal design in workplaces across the globe, and who can blame her. The world is an ever evolving phenomenon and terms such as gender and what it means to be masculine or feminine are not nearly as concrete as they once were. Tick brings up the point in her piece that fashion styles and beauty trends have already well adjusted to the changes as apparel designers have accustomed to women’s wear being more masculine and with beauty suppliers attempting to appeal to the male buyer. However, because it is a much longer process to change architectural and internal designs, many have not caught up with the times. Although some workplaces have unisex restrooms that accomadate the gender fluid age, we still live in a very Modern age primarily shaped by men. Tick also takes into account the changes that this Post-Gender society has already affected much of the world, however there is still a dire need to accommodate for all that is happening and what is to happen for the respect of a persons individuality.
Sarah Schindlers work “Architectural Exclusion” discusses the forms of regulation performed through architectural work to either discriminate, eliminate, or control one group or another. The reading is broken up into two major parts: Architectural Exclusion as a theory, and Architectural Exclusion as a practice. The theory of architectural exclusion revolves around defining the term architectural exclusion and how its practices are so abundant in the U.S. Architectural Exclusion is a means of regulation or control of one or groups, to either benefit or harm said groups. Many do not see this kind of blatant discrimination because we assume it is just a part of daily life. Due to this it has become very difficult to reprimand many practices of architectural exclusion as it is harder to pinpoint or not taken as serious as laws made to control or discriminate. Part 1 goes into detail about the vast how overwhelming the art of regulation is in the built environment around us, but how few have considered its role in our daily lives. Much of our built environment controls our way of transport and access to certain areas, which has made architectural exclusion more political than lawful. Take for example the abundance of neighborhoods with houses to own in a given city, rather than making apartment homes. Low-income citizens are more likely to rent an apartment than buy a home and are less likely to vote than middle to upper-class citizens, causing government officials to cater to homeowners than renters. This also ties to racial discrimination because more people of color find themselves in lower income situations. Practices like this are found all throughout the United States but are not easy to overcome because many see the built environment not as a means of control, but as just apart of daily life. Part 2 goes into great detail about the different types of architectural exclusion as a practice. It begins with an example of New York architect Robert Moses building bridges that hung very low in order to inhibit public transportation into his newly built park. He did this because at the time the majority of those riding public transit were people of color. One of the largest practices of architectural regulation is by the placement of public transit spots, as those who primarily use public transit are low-income individuals or people of color. It is not only architects that take part in this regulation but neighborhood and government officials as well. Many middle and upper class homeowners will vote against the placement of public transit sites near their residence as a way to deter crime. Government officials will do the same but also go a step above that with the building of highways and walls that create a physical barrier between two groups of people. In example highway exits may be placed leading away from upper-class homes and into more impoverished areas to deter traffic from entering richer neighborhoods. Again these are all blatant acts of discrimination against one or more groups of people, but as long as it is a form of regulation that can be wielded by people in power and brushed over as nothing more than landscape, then nothing will change.
Great summary of the thing. Evidence, evidence.