Not so long ago, there were no ladies’ rooms.
No powder rooms. No little girls rooms. No restrooms full of stalls, each with a little metal box on the wall. “Lack of access to toilets effectively tied women to their homes, putting them on a leash as long as their bladder capacity.”
This would not be a good system for me.
Museum of London describes the problem for us, “‘Respectable’ women couldn’t relieve themselves in alleys as men did, and the few toilets available in Victorian London were overwhelmingly built for men. Women who wished to travel into central London or even further for leisure and pleasure had to carefully plan where they could ‘stop off.'”
Time Magazine has a slightly different take on the idea, framing sex-specific facilities as simply customary, and definitely antiquated: “[Ladies’ rooms] were adopted to create this protected haven in this dangerous public realm.” We needed protection because, despite entering the workforce and propelling the Industrial Revolution, we were still seen as weak and stupid.
“Today,” Time continues, “even though society’s views on women have largely shifted, sex-segregated bathrooms remain the custom.”
Meghan Murphy and Twitter
Meghan Murphy is a Canadian Feminist writer. If you are reading this you have probably heard of her but maybe, like me, you don’t have time or energy to follow what most of the world is doing.
Right now, Meghan is suing Twitter.
That is a crazy thing for a writer to do! But Twitter banned her from the platform late last year, after suspending her several times, over “misgendering” a transwoman.
A transwoman who has systematically bated and litigated 16 salons in Canada when employees refused to give him a Brazillian wax. Like, one salon? Okay. Three or four, even, maybe. But 16? I don’t believe that person is acting in good faith.
Anyway, Meghan referred to this person as “him” and Twitter lost their mind. She was permanently banned and she is suing them for loss of income. The main attraction, however, is the hypocrisy.
“Twitter grew to prominence by advertising itself as “the free speech wing of the free speech party,”” explains the website dedicated to the lawsuit. “It repeatedly promised its users in its Terms of Service and elsewhere that it would not censor their speech.”
What’s the big deal?
Canadians recently acquired the right to self-declare their gender.
I mean, their sex.
Or, is it both? Are those words interchangeable, or what?
I seem to remember a long period when they were. ‘Gender’ was adopted as a polite substitute because no one liked saying the S-E-X word. Good thing we have come so far from those crazy Victorians, right?
But so, this means those who believe they are the opposite sex can legally become so, just by officially declaring it? And how does one go about declaring it?
What I could find was that Parliament added gender expression to its list of things it’s illegal to discriminate against people for. The provinces already have similar amendments on the books. It sounds logical and harmless but, in our quest to write away badness, we find ourselves lost in a Kafkaesque maze.
“Non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression may very well be interpreted by the courts in the future to include the right to be identified by a person’s self identified pronoun,” The University of Toronto explains. “The Ontario Human Rights Commission …. states that gender harrassment should include, “Refusing to refer to a person by their self-identified name and proper personal pronoun.””
That’s awfully wordy. Let’s try again. “In other words, pronoun misuse may become actionable, through Human Rights Tribunals and courts.”
The likely punishment? “Monetary damages, non-financial remedies and public interest remedies.”
The University’s Brenda Cossman lists these details to refute claims by a misogynist named Jordan Peterson that these laws will criminalize free speech. “Jail time is not one of them.”
That’s a relief!
Meghan, with her Masters degree in Women’s Studies, has been calling out this idea for years. “The idea that if you have a male body but feel you are female you have every right to women’s space was obviously going to have huge impact on women.”
“Laws were being passed and …. You just had to accept it or you were a right-wing bigot.”
In addition to putting the corporate Public Square on trial, Meghan recently toured the UK. Among other engagements, she was invited to speak to the Scottish Parliament.
The invitation came from MSP Joan McAlpine. Ms. McAlpine shares some of Ms. Murphy’s reservations about self-identification amendments and has drawn wrath by saying so. Both women (and many others) have received threats and abuse for their questions.
What does that tell us? Does that sound like liberal discourse to you?
The UK is embroiled in several political swirls these days, and the debate around the Gender Recognition Act is as lively as any. This is despite a hostile social climate like Meghan describes in Canada.
Those who want to discuss trans politics from the perspective of women’s rights are denied venues. They pull out of speaking engagements because of death threats and universities cancel their panel discussions. They are called derogatory names and dismissed for being “hateful.”
The irony is thick here.
“We Just Want to Pee!”
Trans people (mainly transwomen) stepped onto the cultural stage in a big way in 2015. The scene had been set for years, sympathetic portrayals in movies and TV shows only accelerated after.
Coincidentally, that same year my sister’s husband announced that he was really a woman. She supported him and I supported her, but I had to admit to being upset by the whole thing.
Funny story – For years I thought of myself as a man in a woman’s body. I had a pretty bad case of what they now call “Gender Dysphoria.” Feeling so out of sync with my body and my life, eventually I had to critically reevaluate the beliefs that lead me to be so miserable.
It was terrifying. But I started over and created a more grounded paradigm for myself. My life these days is very different and I wouldn’t go back for anything.
Point is, I have some experience in this area. I recognize the struggle of those who insist I recognize their pronouns. And I feel wrong indulging them.
Which would just be one lady’s opinion, except that ladies’ rooms exist for reasons.
Do Women Need Protecting?
Time Magazine invokes our rejection of paternalism to reject private spaces in public places. “the idea that all women are in increased danger in mixed or gender-neutral bathrooms doesn’t make sense, as predators are not waiting for permission to dress up like a woman to go into bathrooms.” Baby with the bathwater, folks.
But it’s true – Men are already the majority of perpetrators of assault on women. They aren’t waiting for anything.
Women need enforceable female-only spaces for safety because some men are extremely dangerous to us. It’s a prolific minority, but they don’t wear name tags. And they have a habit of being sneaky to get what they want.
“This Never Happens”
Despite proclamations by hand-waving do-gooders, not all transwomen are sweet, misunderstood souls.
They put their families through years of bullshit.
We need to be able to call these men out and defend ourselves, verbally and legally.
If you are a transwoman who pees, washes your hands and leaves, anyone who bothers you needs to get a life. But we can’t allow predatory behavior to use Wokeness as a shield.
Bathrooms are Just the Beginning
There’s also the rape crisis shelter in British Columbia that lost its funding because they refused access to male-bodied people. The Dyke Marches that exclude lesbians as “TERFs.” There’s the children being coached to “transition” and put on life-altering hormones.
There’s the epidemic of young girls rebelling as they hit the wall of puberty, facing the choice between being a woman or a complex human being. Many are opting out, declaring themselves “non-binary” or stripping themselves of feminine markers with binders or surgery.
I feel for these young girls. We live in a world of intense objectification. Conformity is ascendant and those who call themselves Progressive are preoccupied with labelling everyone according to old-fashioned gender stereotypes. It’s confusing.
Many Feminists consider it to be a new form of backlash against the Women’s Movement. The pathologizing of people who don’t conform to sexist expectations could be seen as an assault on the homosexual community. Your swishy son can’t be gay if he’s really a girl!
Is Your Mind So Open Your Brain Fell Out?
Amid all of this, anything besides repeating slogans risks being labeled and shunned. Meghan Murphy is standing up for the gains women have made.
“I find it odd because I never feel I’m saying anything crazy, just normal obvious things …. “I think young women don’t have much knowledge around the history of the women’s movement. I don’t think they realise how hard they had to fight and how long this fight lasted – and how it’s still going on. When women were fighting for the rights we have now – which so many take for granted – those women were dismissed as crazy and radical.”
The Right Swoops In
Meanwhile, states like Georgia are passing draconian anti-abortion laws, hoping to get a crack at the Supreme Court and the infamous Roe v. Wade. (That decision is actually founded in some interesting Right to Privacy stuff which would have lots of ripples if overturned, but that’s another post.)
The root of the anti-abortion crusade is not concern for babies. It never has been. I have met many a deluded soul who truly believed that every little life was sacred, people whose passion has been manipulated to support a movement that would see us back in the kitchen.
The anti-abortion movement is funded by powerful men who understand Patriarchy and that controlling reproduction is how it is perpetuated. They know where their bread is buttered, that Civilization Classic was set up for their benefit by others like them.
It’s an ancient trick, using people’s faith and sense of duty against them. I’m far from the first to write about American Christianity’s deal with the political Devil. In the 1970s, the ends were seen as justifying the means – A return to how things “should” be. With everyone in their place and white men on top.
They Stole Our Words
And these days their plan makes a lot of sense. In many ways, it has been successful. Many a greedy egotist saw profit for themselves along the way, everyone from Rush Limbaugh to Donald Trump, Alex Jones and everyone in between. Individual congressmen who gained from exploiting divisions, megachurch pastors and small-minded authoritarians everywhere. Now they have colonized the Left, using our language and openness against us.
Postmodernism – the rejection of absolute truth – has been misappropriated and used to justify insanity. The language of Progressiveness has been corrupted and stolen in service of regressive agendas.
Whether they saw the grand plan or not, many people have contributed to the place we now find ourselves – Where men can be women, but women don’t control our own bodies.
Good People Need to Think Critically
I actually got started on all this because I have quite a few lefties on my Facebook list. They regularly share things in support of Trans Rights. Some of them have trans relatives. Most of them have trans friends. They are understandably protective of these people they love.
Then last month when Georgia did their thing, suddenly my feed was filled with Feminist stuff, throwing in their two cents for bodily privacy.
Which is where the two sides of the zeitgeist crash into each other. How do you deny biology one day, then speak up in a debate that assumes it the next?
Cognitive Dissonance is Stressful
The Left and the Right are having two different conversations. The Left considered the bodily privacy issue settled and has been pushing its boundaries. The Right has been pushing back against the whole idea. Both sides have reached a precipice and the resulting in-fighting is creating instability.
Conservative think tanks are inviting lesbians to speak. Liberal bureaucrats are censoring unpopular opinions. Kids are being given injections and surgery to fit an ideal in the name of inclusivity. Feminist writers are being invited to Parliament.
It’s definitely a far cry from the world I was born into. Where Mr. Rogers liked you just the way you were, and every single muppet was different. The subversives did a decent job getting their message out.
War is just an absurdly elaborate game of TicTacToe. We are all Basket Cases, Jocks, and Princesses. Things aren’t always what they seem. The bad guy is usually someone you know and trust. Woven between the songs, humor, drama and drug references, tolerance and self-determination were the fabric of popular culture.
Boomers Lack Follow-Thru, Again
But the generation that saw itself as the bastion of a New Age started to fall into old age. With characteristic self-congratulation, they simply assumed that in passing the torch they had won. Around the same time, the elder statesmen of liberalism like Rogers and Henson began leaving us.
But they were the new kids on the block. I think they all failed to appreciate the depth of the problem. You can’t flip the world in a generation, no matter how many pills you invent or how many songs you write.
I have rambled here, but I applaud Meghan Murphy for trying to hold the Left accountable for the progress it supposedly stands for. The Left needs to grow up and take stock of itself. Tolerance and self-determination are beautiful ideals but they require work, thought and compromise.
We Need Objectivity
We can’t abandon Science, which is the foundation everything else rests on. Everything, from understanding the heliocentric nature of our existence, to The Pill, to your reading this right now. Biology may not be destiny, but it sure is the basis of Patriarchy.
While we’re over here in the throes of Death By 1,000 Pronouns, Patriarchy and all who serve it are glad to take advantage of our loss of direction. To swoop in and take away the Privileges – that we so naively refer to as Rights – gained by the oppressed many.
A girl who wants to be a boy needs help. A man who thinks he’s a woman needs therapy. The giant countervailing currents can’t be ignored in favor of “affirming” someone’s identity.
More Labels is not Progress
Progress was supposed to be when everyone could be who they wanted, love who they wanted, without worrying their label – Black, Gay, Poor – would disqualify them.
So, yeah, when the so-called Progressives came at me with a new label for myself – “Cis” – I was not receptive. And I was called bigoted for not wanting to allow myself to be labeled. As something, incidentally, that I don’t feel I am. I certainly am not comfortable with the social role of “Woman.”
Liberal Fragmentation is Scarier Than Any Conservative
The fight is not over. The more I get drawn into the current arguments on the Left, the more I see that we have lost the thread. Consumerism has absorbed almost everything and taught us that we get it Our Way. Jim Henson said it well, “I think it’s good to be your own person. But individuality is a mixed blessing. People who are ‘different’ are isolated.”
The Right has a unifying conformity, and that is their strength. They have been more than happy to use the Left’s diversity to divide and conquer.
We must refocus on creating the world that everyone from Mary Wollstonecraft to Martin Luther King Jr. dared to dream about: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin” Or sex or orientation or wardrobe choices, “but by the content of their character.”
So, no, I don’t want to share my bathroom with you. But it’s so, so much more than that.