Making bathrooms more Accommodating



‘‘Accommodate’’ comes from the Latin for ‘‘to make fitting.’’ It means to adapt, to bring into agreement or harmony, to furnish with something desired or needed, to favor or oblige. (Baseline 2015) “Making Bathrooms more Accommodating” by Emily Bazelon in a sense almost eludes irony just within the title itself. The accommodation of bathrooms can be argued because they are not so accommodating. Bazelon, from the beginning addresses some key points such as feeling vulnerable and also the dictation of ones body.

Many arguments are made in favor of unisex bathrooms, but with societies way of thinking, changing what one would call “the norm” has been proven to be difficult. For years society has brought awareness to problems such as segregation of social classes, race, religion but what we have failed to being awareness to is segregation of bathrooms. At first glance, segregation of bathrooms would not normally be first on the agenda to be addresses but it is a problem that affects the community we surround ourselves with daily.These public conveniences use appearance to dictate who goes where. Transgenders are often faced with agonizing choice of which restroom to use which results in the comfortability of a personal area to be diminished. How should a transgender choose which restroom to use when they fit the criteria of both genders? Should they be judged off original gender, which evidently will cause more problems than solutions? Should transgenders be forced to feel uncomfortable in a space provided for privacy? When it comes down to transgenders and restrooms or locker rooms, there will always be an issue.

A case Bazelon included in her article is that of  a transgendered Illinois high school student was identified as a female or her passport and identifies as a female was refused the right to change in the girls locker room. These inconveniences not only affect transgenders but male and females on a daily as well. Women are forced to wait in long lines while the opposite sex restroom does not have a soul in sight. Should women have to suffer because specific guidelines are not met in reference to who can and cannot use a certain restroom.

Today’s society is always pushing for equality but with the separation of restrooms, the one step we took to progression has now knocked us backed two steps. We argue that both and men and women should be able to do the same things such as both being able to go topless without women being judged but when the  debate of unisex restrooms come in to play, there is not much coverage or argument to get the results we need. The term ‘accommodate’ poses issues within itself and the author addresses that in the article. Bazelon suggests that the loaded term contributes to the  “othering” of transgender people and the manner of the term “often sets up a distinction between the normal and the other.” (Bazelon 2015) In essence the author does provide possible solutions to the accommodation situation that lies in todays society. These solutions are relatively small sacrifices that as a society, we would have to make; Bazelon proposes both privacy curtains and single-unisex stalls.

Reading summary 2


“Tapestry Of Space: Domestic Architecture And Underground Communities In Margaret Morton’s Photography Of A Forgotten New York” by Nersessova discusses a safe haven for those who are homeless. It is evident that having a home and having a stable home do not go hand in hand as being synonyms of one another. Homelessness and the architectural structures go hand in hand in helping to create a place called home. The misconception of the homelessness is fought out in this text. When we categorize homeless people we categorize them as not having home but all in all they do have a home just not a conventional or stable home. Morton tries her best to capture points from the homeless point of view. When  being homeless, you are shunned by those who have more to offer as far as finances. Those who are homeless are looked at as not worthy. Society has gotten to a point where material items and money has deemed ones worthy. Many look at homeless people as people who are lazy and are only looking for handouts but in turn are some of the most hardworking individuals. As middle class and upper class we devalue the lives of the homeless because we feel superior as if we are better than them. A point Morton makes is how the homeless dwell in underground tunnels in New York to escape the bombard of the media and their interpretations on their situations. This is so they can be left to their reality. Nersessova states that since basically since the homeless do not have conventional homes, cities are allowed to destroy the places they inhabit. Life “underground,” is said to be less stressful because the daily struggle of life is not prominent. The tunnel is almost a safe haven for people to escape to. It revokes any type of fear. Morton uses photographs to showcase the not-so glamourous lifestyle that many people live. Morton captures the side of society is often so belittled. She’s able to show how architectural instances are used to help the homeless to express themselves. The discarded materials used to help make a place they call their own and also used to create a sense of identity. This sense of identity is abruptly taken away when their home is blocked. Homelessness is almost equivalent to being a crime in some people’s minds. Basically to turn urban areas into money making attractions, the “goal has been to push the poor out of sight”(Nersessova). Blocking the tunnels left them with no where to go. Overall Nersessova shows the connection between architecture and the minds of people. Your surroundings make you, you. The infrastructure that surrounds you on a daily determines your way of living. Road blocks and tunnel blocks are used as a prevention method to stop the homeless from entering certain areas. Similar to Schindlers view on built environments. Both explain the misuse of architectural structures. Both show how small, simple changes are affecting people by the mass. Lastly both show that segragation and discrimination is very much alive.