6.10.2011

Feminist conference, non-feminist bathroom

Check out this sign.  Astrid pointed out that the woman's legs are tightly together, to show her appropriate ladyhood, while the guy's got his spread apart.  Room for the package.

This is the kind of visual messaging that makes guys take up both armrests on the airplane, and all the available footroom.  I really doubt that your package needs all that space, airplane guy.

Great conference day today.  Astrid and I are briefly back at the hotel before we go out for some dinner, and then head to the conference for tonight's plenary session.

Because I enjoy this form of conference reporting, here are some of the text messages I sent Biffle today (Biffle, sadly, has been mostly silent on the text messaging front, so no quotes from him):
  • Hey, baby!  I have had a full morning.  So many big thoughts, plus early treadmill time and shower. I think I am far more comfortable w institutional power than a lot of feminists.
  • Oh, not all bldgs here have ac.  Quite warm right now.
  • Literally gave myself an arm bruise in the last session to stay awake.  Now going to the book room.
My favorite quote of the day, which I didn't text to Biffle, was from my friend Annalee Lepp, who said, "If I have to have another naming debate I'll slit my throat." (This is in relation to the question of whether we're Women's Studies, Gender Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, or something else.  We've been having that conversation for a long time.  We're ready to move on.)  I might actually use this quote in my presentation tomorrow.

5 comments:

Claire said...

More food reporting please.....and look at you using the hotel treadmill!

raisel said...

I read something recently about work environments and that men tend take up more space in meetings with their physical selves and their stuff (laptop, papers, etc.) whereas women tend to take up less space and try to keep themselves and their stuff more neatly confined. It's as though women don't want to intrude on others and men have no problem intruding on others. Of course this is a blanket statement and obviously does not apply to all, but I've observed this with some of the people I work with and have watched one coworker, in particular, who widely crosses his legs, leans back in his chair, folds his arms behind his head, and takes up entirely too damn much space. Have you noticed this?

lifeversiontwo said...

I love seeing these sorts of visual messages pointed out. Because so few people really think about HOW we are given messages about appropriate behavior in our society. Gracias.

krlr said...

Just because I'm ornery I have to ask - what SHOULD the sign look like? I kind of think the other "feminine" descriptors (long hair, boobs) would be worse than a skirt. Is there a graphics class for this? What are the other (image-only) options? I can't think of any that aren't at least a little stereotypical. Maybe we could all go to a unisex bathrooms a la Ally Mcbeal? Now I'm going to be analyzing restroom signage every time I go out.---Affectionately teasing, krlr.

Alison said...

Some quick replies to your excellent comments:

--Yes, men take up more room. Think of how women are trained: "Keep your knees together, young lady!" Men are supposed to be big and spacious--it's part of how we define masculinity.
--Graphic designations of male and female are tricky, of course, because they're drawing on stereotypes. I almost never wear skirts, so most of the time I look more like the "guy" bathroom image. Maybe we should have graphics of a vagina and a penis.
--Or unisex bathrooms. I do love this, particularly since I know a growing number of folks who don't identify as male or female, so where the hell are they supposed to go to the bathroom? How about a bathroom that's just labeled "Bathroom"?