Toilets: The New Model of Social Parity?
Forty years after second wave women’s movements took to the streets demanding equal pay and legal protections we are finally seeing a move in the direction of parity and it is taking place in the bathroom. The recent decision by Yankee Stadium (see article below) to take gender into consideration in its architecture is both an historic and sobering moment. Gender, race, class, and sexual discrimination is not simply a matter of laws and codes, it is also culturally and physically embedded. In much the same way that Foucault describes power as a field of force relations, gender is inscribed here as architecture, as limits to our structural imaginations. Acts of equity such as the installation of more toilets for women, scholarships and incentives, and affirmative action, are meant to account for and achieve equality and parity of participation. Essentially, to achieve equality we must often pursue seemingly unequal strategies. Nancy Fraser (see below) reminds us that these kinds of strategies to overcome both economic and social injustices are not aimed at emphasizing and creating special treatment but rather to establish certain collectives of subordinated groups as full partners in social life. In the case of Yankee Stadium, however crass and seemingly insignificant, the installation of more toilets achieves at least one instance of parity.
“Potty Parity” article