Toilets, Gender and Liberation

By Alicia Izharuddin:

“Public toilets have not existed in their gendered form since time immemorial. They emerged alongside urbanisation, improved sanitation, and enforced privatisation of bodily functions in 19th century Europe. Since their inception, public toilets for women (introduced decades after the male-only facility) was subjected to fierce objection. Ideas of women relieving themselves in small ʻrest roomsʼ outside the confines of their homes (where they should be) was shocking and morally transgressive.”

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“Transgress the laws of the  gender divisions, and you could face violent repercussions. Trans* people and butch women have all faced the aggressive force of gender policing in public toilets. Homophobic attacks against gay men or men suspected as gay in public toilets are also rife. What is considered a ʻpublic convenienceʼ for all can turn out to be an oppressive menace to those who do not conform to mainstream gender and sexual identities. Public toilets are therefore sites of gender and sexual privilege.”

Why do we care about gender neutral restrooms? Equity is at the heart of it all:

Rants and Raves: Female Empowerment in Rave Culture

*Names changed

Our motto is PLUR: Peace, Love, Unity and Respect. We borrow this philosophy from the hippies. Our drug culture stems directly from the 1960’s, just with new lingo. We brought back the sexual revolution of second wave feminism. Or so I thought.
Yeah it's a blog urging rave ladies to stand up for respect, maybe it's just unclear. Feel free to edit it.  A picture like this?
We wear outrageous, themed lingerie costumes. We wear rainbow bikinis, fuzzy leg-warmers, and neon fishnets. We express ourselves in the way we never can in our daily lives at work and school. But we are not dancing topless at Woodstock. We are not free.

Chelsea’s boyfriend told her not to gogo anymore because he believes they are basically strippers and treated as such. However unlike strippers (many, not all), gogos are not forced into their jobs by anyone or anything, nor are they exploited by it. But even these beautiful, talented, untouchable dancers are not free from degradation. Chelsea had enjoyed her gogoing days but was happy to agree to her boyfriend’s request.

Michael asks, “When you go out in your corsets and miniskirts, are you really that surprised when you get raped?” Katie, Jessica and I facetiously agreed that yes, we are ‘surprised’ whenever we get raped. But on a serious note, I was truly surprised to find this rape culture perpetuated in rave culture.

We have our own brand of victim-blaming; if you react too strongly to unwanted groping at the hands of high kids, you are causing drama AKA being un-PLUR. I’m, forced to laugh it off, yell, “Fingering me is not a dance move!” and write ‘NO MEANS NO’ with Sharpie on the backs of passed out drunk guys.

This is not the movement I thought it was. Rave culture is expanding and we need to preserve its integrity. We must demand the R(espect) in PLUR from those who may grope and degrade us. They are intimidated by the freedom of our bodies. We, the ladies of raveland, are beautiful forces of nature, dancing spirits, and fierce goddesses. We will not be inhibited. This is our dance floor too. Revolution: Rave Is Queen.


This Blog Post by Hannah Westberg