Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating’ (Annotated Bibliography Four)

Bazelon, Emily. “Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating’.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 21 Nov. 2015. Web. 24 Feb. 2016.

In the article Making Bathrooms More ‘Accomodating’ by Emily Bazelon, there are a number of arguments made in favor of unisex (i.e. all-gender) bathrooms. Bazelon argues that the root cause of sex-segregated bathrooms occurred in the 19th century when women began entering into previously male-dominated areas like factories and libraries. At the time, people believed women were prone to fainting and so they required special rooms they could rest in. The sex-segregated bathrooms were also created to address privacy and sanitation concerns. In contrast, the modern-day woman isn’t concerned by such matters. Another argument by Bazelon is that sex should no longer be determined by biology, but by how people feel and express themselves. This is because a person who is biologically female may feel she is male—or express that she is male–and because there are other sex-chromosome combinations besides XY and XX. The third main argument of this article has to do with accommodation and feelings; the entire article is about accommodation, but Bazelon provides examples of US schools already accommodating the transgendered by using their preferred names and pronouns, so the question she raises are why not go further and shouldn’t we make everyone feel welcome?

This article is interesting in the sense that it introduces the reader to new ideas, especially if the reader is conservative; however, I don’t consider The New York Times to be obejctive. Take for instance this article. A strong opposing argument is never offered (against unisex bathrooms or the idea of transgenderism), although Bazelon does bring up the Houston campaign against unisex bathrooms–which made use of the commonly perpetuated belief that all men are potential assailants. Interestingly enough, she never mentioned that the “No Men in Women’s Bathrooms” campaign was sexist against men. Instead, she quoted a self-proclaimed liberal woman who opined that this unisex bathroom movement was yet another example of women having to accommodate men, despite the fact that if the movement were successful, then women would be allowed to use the men’s room too.

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