Author: Lelani Antar
The patriarchy is this seemingly abstract concept that creates so much controversy and buzz, it can make one dizzy. Both online and offline discourse surrounding the topic often turns into a battlefield of numerous studies and statistics molded to fit an individual’s agenda. While I find myself open to new perspectives, the one idea that makes me nauseous is the notion that the patriarchy does not exist.
From the gender pay gap to gender violence, there always seems to be a group that rallies behind a statistic adorned with the right logical fallacy, seeking to discredit the role or even the existence of the patriarchy. I have tried my best to shift through all their arguments and have found only more misleading statistics and logical fallacies designed with the purpose to deny the existence of the oppressive system. In an attempt to prove its existence, we have to look at the ridiculousness produced and reproduced by the system, we have to look at the wackiness within the patriarchy.
To pinpoint the silliness of the patriarchy I turn to one of the most mundane and apolitical activities, peeing. Though unmemorable, the average person relieves themselves about 4 – 10 times a day. While modern city planning has afforded us access to more public restrooms, about 50% of the population still faces a few inconveniences, through the lack of women urinals.
Men are afforded the luxury to pee much more conveniently than women, having access to urinals in both pissoirs – partially concealed structures – or public restrooms. This creates an environment in which men have access to more bathrooms, making peeing both an easier and faster activity.
Meanwhile, women experience the tales of long walks and longer lines for the bathroom. With no female pissoir, women have to walk a bit farther to find an appropriate place to pee. Even once at the closest public bathroom, she is met with the infamous long lines. In the men’s bathrooms, there are more spots to relieve oneself due to the combination of standard toilets and urinals. In contrast, women’s restroom do not optimize space in the same way, limiting itself to the traditional toilet. The lack of women’s urinals creates a “potty parity” or gender inequality in regard to access to bathrooms.
While a few cities have attempted to end the injustice with the installment of women’s urinals, there still lacks mainstream initiatives. This arguably trivial problem showcases how the comfort of men is often regarded more than the comfort of women, unconsciously and yet decidedly. There are little to no misleading statistics adorned with logical fallacies that can deny that this puts women in a position of more discomfort than men.
When looking at any oppressive system, it is easy to get lost in the battlefield of discourse. However, by looking at the wackiness and absurdities created by the system, light can be shed on its pattern. While this argument is from a sex binary and European perspective, the repetitive cycle still applies to a global and intersectional analysis in regards to; access to feminine hygiene products, birth control, and adequate women’s health resources. As previously stated, the patriarchy is an abstract concept that can be challenging to approach. But by examining the potty parity, we can infer that – repeatedly – women’s basic human needs are often overlooked in a world designed for men.
*DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of BAISmag or BASIS.*
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