Monday, May 23, 2016

Our fixation on toilets

Apparently it goes way back.  Obsessions with restrooms drove opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment -- with exactly the same language!
For generations, Americans have imparted bathrooms with their deepest anxieties about changing social norms and practices. From the Industrial Revolution to Jim Crow to women’s lib to today, restrooms have been a proxy for political fights on almost every major issue in American life — race, class, gender, crime, sexuality, you name it. .... 
If the past is any guide, we shouldn’t count on the current struggle over restrooms for transgender people being easy or quick. In fact, bathrooms have proven a surprisingly powerful political lever over the years. They’ve been pivotal in many political arguments — and, in perhaps the most masterful harnessing of bathroom anxiety in American history, a largely invented controversy over unisex bathrooms in the 1970s ultimately killed off the almost-enacted Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution.


1 comment:

John Julian said...

The primary issue USED to be what happened in bedrooms.
NOW it's what happens in bathrooms.
Do you suppose they'll go after kitchens next?

I love your blog!