The Strange Erasure of Women’s Rights

 

“Never pass up a clean, safe bathroom” is one of the timeless rules, especially in female life. Yesterday, my husband and I were at the Maine College of Art together, looking at an exhibit, and we decided to use the restrooms before leaving. Down a corridor, we found two of them. One was labeled “Men” and the other was labeled “All Genders.”

Got that? There weren’t two all-gender bathrooms, nor three — a men’s, a women’s, and an all-gender. Nope. The only choice that I, as a woman, was offered was a bathroom in which a man (any man, not just a man who identified as a woman) was expressly permitted to enter into and share with me.

As it happens, I am quite accustomed to sharing bathrooms and much else with men. I work in a predominately male field, after all. And beside, I’m 55 years old and the mother of six, three of whom are men. So it’s hard for any bathroom arrangement to make me uncomfortable.

But what if I was an 18-year-old art student? Or maybe the 11-year-old daughter of another gallery visitor?

Wayyyyy back in the mists of time, when being a feminist meant advocating for the Equal Rights Amendment, the Stop-ERA anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafley conjured dark and (I thought) absurd visions of a future in which laws protecting women would be abandoned.

As one educational site sneeringly describes Schlafly’s points: “Those opposed to the ERA even suggested that single-sex restrooms would be banished by future courts!”

Modernity being what it is, there are no longer all that many places (or “spaces” as we are now supposed to say) in ordinary life where anatomy matters. Up until recently, however,  bathrooms were among these, along with locker rooms at the gym.

And once a female athlete had changed into her gym clothes in the all-female locker room, Title IX meant she could have opportunities to compete at a level earlier generations could only dream of. The result has been a lot of fun and satisfaction for girls and women, and some pretty wonderful play for spectators to enjoy.

The same transgendered movement/fad that found me … um … attending to my personal hygiene needs in an “Any Gender” bathroom has brought chromosomally male athletes into direct competition with the chromosomally female.

“They’re women!” activists insist. “How dare you say otherwise!” But a 20-year-old who has spent two decades as a male does not magically become physiologically female by changing the costume, the name, or the pronouns. Even hormone treatment and surgery can’t change the fact that a transgendered soccer player, say, is going to have a significant advantage in size and strength over a soccer player who has been a girl all her life. There have already been instances in which female athletes have been defeated and even hurt in competition with stronger, heavier transgendered opponents.

Naturally (and I use the term deliberately) the same is not true of female-to-male athletes; even a lightweight mixed martial arts champ like Conor MacGregor isn’t going to get stomped by a fighter who grew up female in the way Tamikka Brents was defeated — and badly injured — by the transgendered Fallon Fox.

There are scholars now suggesting that having separate teams for males and females is simply sexism; all teams should be co-ed. The proponents of such schemes do not appear to be jocks. I suspect it’s an idea that sounds fine to academics who, at most, might occasionally play pick-up softball with other middle-aged desk-potatoes. But forcing Venus Williams to compete against male tennis players would mean, simply, that Williams would lose. And instead of watching (and marveling at) her superb play, we would all end up watching … men. 

Perhaps the theorists and advocates genuinely don’t realize that the losers in this utopian scenario will be, inevitably, women. Yes, there may be a few top female athletes who make it onto their high school co-ed soccer team, but girls who aren’t superb but merely good (and enthusiastic) players will find their opportunities constrained and even the great female athletes will be stymied. Again.

Just the way they were back in the day, when if you wanted to compete at a high level in just about any sport, you pretty much had to be male. When it comes to the utopian visions of the social justice crowd, notice who ends up with the short end of the stick? 

My husband might be disconcerted to find himself sharing a bathroom with a woman, but he wouldn’t feel threatened. Our daughter would feel threatened, for the very good reason that she might actually be threatened. But guess who is expected to take one for the team? The co-ed team, that is. The one she would not have been able to play for in the high school of progressives’ dreams because, although she was a good soccer player, she wasn’t as strong and fast as even the merely pretty-good boys. 

Is it “unconscious sexism” that makes the advocates for social justice fail to notice that women are already being victimized by all the virtue being slopped about? I thought about this when reading of the recent sharp increase in sexual violence against women in Europe.

Though the governments of the affected countries did their level best to conceal the fact, the perpetrators of these crimes were overwhelmingly foreign-born men; members of the wave of migrants that has washed over the continent in the past couple of years. Contrary to popular impression, most of these migrants were not refugees or legitimate asylum seekers. The majority were economic migrants, mostly unattached young men. This may or may not make a difference in how you feel about whether the welcome Europeans extended has been a moral necessity or an act of continental suicide.

But what we might want to notice is that it is women and girls — along with LGBTQ and Jewish Europeans — who have been put at risk; women and girls who have been asked to sacrifice their own well-being in order to provide a refuge for men who might not even have been endangered. 

Helpful authorities have offered women and girls paternalistic advice about, you know, dressing more modestly so as not to provoke the rapists. Why does that somehow sound familiar? 

Young women might not know this, but anyone my age or older knows that it took a long time, and a lot of effort to gain the power and possibilities that American and European women now enjoy. Does it strike anyone else as odd and ominous that new calls for social justice seem to require compromising women’s basic safety without which it shall be difficult for us to enjoy the rights and responsibilities we fought so hard for?

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  1. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    By the way, can I just comment on my own post, and  enquire whether, of the two sexes, is it really men who need access to two bathrooms, and women who can make do with one?

    • #1
  2. Patrick McClure Coolidge
    Patrick McClure
    @Patrickb63

    I am not the least bit surprised that in the victim-Olympics of leftism the rights of the more marginalized (in lefty eyes) people trump those of mainstream females.

    • #2
  3. Patrick McClure Coolidge
    Patrick McClure
    @Patrickb63

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    By the way, can I just comment on my own post, and enquire whether, of the two sexes, is it really men who need access to two bathrooms, and women who can make do with one?

    Bathroom-shaming Kate?

    • #3
  4. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    By the way, can I just comment on my own post, and enquire whether, of the two sexes, is it really men who need access to two bathrooms, and women who can make do with one?

    It wasn’t that long ago that there were contemplated (and in some cases implemented) so called “potty parity” laws that mandated that women’s restrooms had at least as many toilets as the men’s rooms had toilets+urinals (e.g. if a men’s room has 1 toilet + 3 urinals, then the women’s room should have 4 toilets).  Since urinals take up less space, this law change would require women’s rooms to be larger to accommodate the added stalls.  After all, you rarely see lines of the same extent outside of men’s rooms compared to the lines outside of women’s restrooms, unless you are at a predominantly male-oriented event like some of my industry’s trade shows.

    So now women have to contend with men being able to use women’s restrooms as well as their own rarely overcrowded ones.  How is that progress?

    • #4
  5. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Kate Braestrup: Does it strike anyone else as odd and ominous that new calls for social justice seem to require compromising women’s basic safety without which it shall be difficult for us to enjoy the rights and responsibilities we fought so hard for?

    Your “we” does not include me. I was born in 1970 and have never been on the feminist side of anything. The responsibilities you mention necessarily mean that women will get the short end of the stick in all kinds of ways, and for what rights? The right to an abortion? What a slap in the face.

    Feminism means that most women, who could care less about playing sports or having a high powered career, must sacrifice themselves and take on more responsibilities for a minority of women who do want those things. Any woman who objects to this is a bigot. High powered feminists have been sacrificing other women for a long time now. This is nothing new, it’s just more of the same.

    • #5
  6. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    There is no unifying force behind this idiocy. Instead there deluded utopians who actually believe this stuff to be true, while there’s a darker and more sinister force of committed Marxists who embrace it because of the chaos it spreads.

    • #6
  7. GLDIII Reagan
    GLDIII
    @GLDIII

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    By the way, can I just comment on my own post, and enquire whether, of the two sexes, is it really men who need access to two bathrooms, and women who can make do with one?

    Well for a majority of the biological transactions men can make do with no bathroom, we just frown on it…

    • #7
  8. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Kate Braestrup: Nope. The only choice that I, as a woman, was offered was a bathroom in which a man (any man, not just a man who identified as a woman) was expressly permitted to enter into and share with me.

    Thus achieving the real goal of the trans-gender movement: making the world safe for straight male pervs. They really dislike straight women. Even if they had men’s rooms and women’s rooms allowing those who “identify” as the opposite sex it achieves the same goal. Nothing to stop a guy from identifying as a lesbian woman. (You gotta problem with that, you homophobe?)

    Kate Braestrup: There are scholars now suggesting that having separate teams for males and females at all is simply sexism; all teams should be co-ed.

    I do not believe this is just due to dislike for straight women. The major advocates for this are scholars – who value theory over experience  (generally because they lack real experience), and simply have to latch onto the latest intellectual fad or lose their cred as intellectuals. If a few women get hurt because of this, too bad. What are the interests of women when weight against the urgent necessity of enforcing a theory?

    Seawriter

    • #8
  9. A-Squared Inactive
    A-Squared
    @ASquared

    Many restaurants in Chicago only have single hole bathrooms instead of a men’s room and a women’s room.

    It’s a huge waste of expensive floor space, but a small price to be “woke”.

    • #9
  10. TG Thatcher
    TG
    @TG

    Kate Braestrup: Does it strike anyone else as odd and ominous that new calls for social justice seem to require compromising women’s basic safety without which it shall be difficult for us to enjoy the rights and responsibilities we fought so hard for?

    Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

    • #10
  11. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    So now women have to contend with men being able to use women’s restrooms as well as their own rarely overcrowded ones. How is that progress?

    Well, it does rub feminists faces in the end result of their belief system.  That women can do anything men can do is simply untrue.  Excluding sexual functions, some small fraction of women can do everything a similarly small fraction of men can do. With a corollary in the inverse.  Modern transhumanism ignores the fractions, and bilateralism, and seeks to render the exclusions moot by simple redefinition.  It’s all [expletive].

    • #11
  12. Nick H Coolidge
    Nick H
    @NickH

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    By the way, can I just comment on my own post, and enquire whether, of the two sexes, is it really men who need access to two bathrooms, and women who can make do with one?

    Given than men are much less likely to travel to the bathroom as a group, and there’s much less likely to be a line outside the men’s room, it does seem to be adding insult to injury.

     

    • #12
  13. Weeping Inactive
    Weeping
    @Weeping

    I wish I could like this post a million times.

    I was reading a thread in a private Facebook group that I’m a part of in which someone expressed shock and dismay at the idea that shelters for women might not allow transgendered women to take refuge in them. After all, transgendered women are often victims of violence too, so why shouldn’t they be allowed to take refuge there?

    When asked about the feelings of the biological women in the shelters, should their fears of safety be ignored? Why couldn’t an answer be found that acknowledged that the concerns of both groups are legitimate?

    The poster basically said that to not let transgendered women take refuge in the shelters was bigotry, pure and simple. He/she was shocked and ashamed that anyone in the group would defend refusing shelter to a battered transgender woman because of the discomfort of the cisgender (biological) women. Apparently the cisgender women’s experiences, which caused their discomfort in the first place, shouldn’t be part of the equation.

    I found the whole exchange mindboggling, to say the least.

     

    • #13
  14. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    (Sigh…)

    • #14
  15. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    EJHill (View Comment):
    There is no unifying force behind this idiocy. Instead there deluded utopians who actually believe this stuff to be true, while there’s a darker and more sinister force of committed Marxists who embrace it because of the chaos it spreads.

    I don’t think the term Marxist is quite accurate. I doubt that most of these people have read Marx. Marx for his many many flaws, (personal and intellectual) actually did research and thought about stuff.

    What makes these people related to Marx (and perhaps more so to Mao or Stalin) is their yearning for the destruction of civilization.

    Mao wanted to burn away all of Chinese culture in a secular attempt to return to Eden. Mao believed that human beings didn’t have an inherent nature so they could be perfected if they were made blank.

    Thomas Jefferson while writing about the French Revolution expressed similar sentiments.

    My own affections have been deeply wounded by some of the martyrs to this cause, but rather than it should have failed, I would have seen half the earth desolated. Were there but an Adam & an Eve left in every country, & left free, it would be better than as it now is.

    The desire to burn away gender to return to Eden is pretty much the same impulse and I think it predates Marx.

    • #15
  16. Gossamer Cat Coolidge
    Gossamer Cat
    @GossamerCat

    Weeping (View Comment):
    When asked about the feelings of the biological women in the shelters, should their fears of safety be ignored? Why couldn’t an answer be found that acknowledged that the concerns of both groups are legitimate?

    I’ve always thought that this was the most infuriating part of the whole argument.  Transgendered people don’t want to use the bathroom of their biological sex, because they feel uncomfortable being with the “wrong sex”.  So when I as a female see someone of the wrong sex, i.e,. male, come into the bathroom, I am uncomfortable.  But my discomfort is labeled prejudice, while that of the transgendered individual is to be accommodated.

    • #16
  17. Richard Easton Coolidge
    Richard Easton
    @RichardEaston

    Please explain to me what this solves for the supposedly transgender person.  If you’re a male supposedly transitioning to a female, you can use the stall in the men’s bathroom.  If you’re a female supposedly transitioning to a male, you use the women’s bathroom.  Where’s the supposed embarrassment in using the XX bathroom if you’re XX and the XY bathroom if you’re XY.

    • #17
  18. Weeping Inactive
    Weeping
    @Weeping

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Weeping (View Comment):
    When asked about the feelings of the biological women in the shelters, should their fears of safety be ignored? Why couldn’t an answer be found that acknowledged that the concerns of both groups are legitimate?

    I’ve always thought that this was the most infuriating part of the whole argument. Transgendered people don’t want to use the bathroom of their biological sex, because they feel uncomfortable being with the “wrong sex”. So when I as a female see someone of the wrong sex, i.e,. male, come into the bathroom, I am uncomfortable. But my discomfort is labeled prejudice, while that of the transgendered individual is to be accommodated.

    I totally agree.

    • #18
  19. J.D. Snapp Coolidge
    J.D. Snapp
    @JulieSnapp

    In addition, there’s now a problem of men who dress as women threatening physical violence and rape against women who even hint at being slightly uncomfortable with all the bathroom changes. TERFs is what these women are called. I can’t speak for other women, but that makes me even more uncomfortable with the entire thing. I’d say that you should know you’re crossing the line when conservative women and radical feminists are coming to similar conclusions.

    • #19
  20. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    I’ve heard that a majority of all Male-to-Female transgenders identify as “lesbian.” Meaning they are attracted to women. If you don’t think there’s a sexual component to this bathroom business, you’re nuttier than the guy in the dress.

    • #20
  21. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    GLDIII (View Comment):

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    By the way, can I just comment on my own post, and enquire whether, of the two sexes, is it really men who need access to two bathrooms, and women who can make do with one?

    Well for a majority of the biological transactions men can make do with no bathroom, we just frown on it…

    Exactly! For the men who are waiting in line…have you not got the park across the street?

    • #21
  22. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Richard Easton (View Comment):
    Please explain to me what this solves for the supposedly transgender person. If you’re a male supposedly transitioning to a female, you can use the stall in the men’s bathroom. If you’re a female supposedly transitioning to a male, you use the women’s bathroom. Where’s the supposed embarrassment in using the XX bathroom if you’re XX and the XY bathroom if you’re XY.

    I didn’t get this either.  Unless there’s some notion of accomodating all the people who don’t feel they are one or the other, in which case, why not make both bathrooms “all genders?” Why presume that women want to piddle with the gender fluids? so to speak.

    • #22
  23. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I think this is going to turn into a major health problem.

    Two bathrooms should not be an option.

    There should be three. If you are a public building with a public bathroom, you should have to have three.

     

    • #23
  24. Trink Coolidge
    Trink
    @Trink

    Kate Braestrup:   Is it . . . “odd and ominous” . . . .

    Another word leaps from those two words:

    Odious.   It’s all three.

    • #24
  25. Phil Turmel Coolidge
    Phil Turmel
    @PhilTurmel

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    … want to piddle with the gender fluids? so to speak.

    Hah!  I’m going to have to steal this one!

    • #25
  26. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Weeping (View Comment):
    When asked about the feelings of the biological women in the shelters, should their fears of safety be ignored? Why couldn’t an answer be found that acknowledged that the concerns of both groups are legitimate?

    I’ve always thought that this was the most infuriating part of the whole argument. Transgendered people don’t want to use the bathroom of their biological sex, because they feel uncomfortable being with the “wrong sex”. So when I as a female see someone of the wrong sex, i.e,. male, come into the bathroom, I am uncomfortable. But my discomfort is labeled prejudice, while that of the transgendered individual is to be accommodated.

    And that inconsistency was explicitly stated in the Obama Department of Education “Dear Colleague” letter on transgender access to bathrooms and locker rooms. The letter started off with platitudes about “no one should be uncomfortable,” but then went on to state  that any discomfort by the normal person was to be ignored. So, although the letter started with “no one should be uncomfortable,” the only person whose discomfort was actually of concern was the “transgendered” person, and

    • #26
  27. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    So far I’m willing to grant that the academics who insist that “transgendered” (or “transgendering”) individuals must be allowed to compete on the girl’s (or women’s) team just haven’t thought through to the long-term consequences, not that they are being malicious. In my opinion, allowing boys or men who claim to feel like girls or women to compete on girl’s and women’s sports teams inevitably leads to the elimination of “girl’s” or “women’s” sports. As with so many things, the advocates of change think only of the first order effects, and fail to consider the longer term (second and third order) effects as people respond to the change.

    • #27
  28. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    So far I’m willing to grant that the academics who insist that “transgendered” (or “transgendering”) individuals must be allowed to compete on the girl’s (or women’s) team just haven’t thought through to the long-term consequences, not that they are being malicious. In my opinion, allowing boys or men who claim to feel like girls or women to compete on girl’s and women’s sports teams inevitably leads to the elimination of “girl’s” or “women’s” sports. As with so many things, the advocates of change think only of the first order effects, and fail to consider the longer term (second and third order) effects as people respond to the change.

    @bridgetfay has had a lot of experience dealing with this.

    • #28
  29. Guruforhire Inactive
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):

    Richard Easton (View Comment):
    Please explain to me what this solves for the supposedly transgender person. If you’re a male supposedly transitioning to a female, you can use the stall in the men’s bathroom. If you’re a female supposedly transitioning to a male, you use the women’s bathroom. Where’s the supposed embarrassment in using the XX bathroom if you’re XX and the XY bathroom if you’re XY.

    I didn’t get this either. Unless there’s some notion of accomodating all the people who don’t feel they are one or the other, in which case, why not make both bathrooms “all genders?” Why presume that women want to piddle with the gender fluids? so to speak.

    You have it backwards.  The new enlightened, fabulous, and vibrant can’t be expected to piddle with the backwards genetic reprobates(Predestined for damnation, because the left is making Calvinism great again) men.  That has like a 100% chance of rape or something.

    • #29
  30. Paula Lynn Johnson Inactive
    Paula Lynn Johnson
    @PaulaLynnJohnson

    Great post. Your argument also squares with all the traditionally female colleges now admitting transgenders.  Apparently Smith, Mt. Holyoke, etc. now represent that they no longer “track gender identities.” Well, okay. So what’s the point of a “female” school?

    • #30
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