The Sign Says Men

The recent events have me pondering the changes in how women think. I grew up in a family where women were told we could do anything and as we had no boys in the family comparisons were never in the picture. My mother often stated she wanted her daughters to be completely self sufficient and we were.

What has touched me most is a video of the young girl who wrote a very poignant, thoughtful song about the way that women’s experiences (the bad ones) are turned to focus on the male perspective. So the issue of the prevalence of rape and aggression is turned into males being falsely accused.

A real life example of how some women think slapped me in the side of the head the other day. On our way to Rocky Mountain National Park we stopped for coffee. I joined the line of women waiting for the toilet. When I looked down the hall I could see a second restroom, door wide open.

“Are there two toilets?” I asked the women in front of me, motioning down the hall.

The one near me turned, an apologetic look on her face. “The sign says men,” she shrugged.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If this was a big public restroom with urinals and multiple toileting opportunities I wouldn’t use it, because, after all, I don’t want men in the ladies room. But this was a tiny coffee shop, with two single restrooms just next to each other. There were no men in line, in fact there were only two men in the whole shop, one engaged in deep conversation with a woman and one reading a paper. And there wasn’t actually a sign that said men on the door. Each door had a rag doll hanging on it, one vaguely female and the other vaguely male.

I used the open restroom. When the woman who had warned me not to use that toilet returned to her friends she told them in hushed tones what I had done.

All I could think about all day was how that woman let a rag doll on a door tell her what she could or couldn’t do.

And that is the kind of guilt, shame and obedience that those women who continue to close their eyes to what is happening are raised to believe is their burden to bear. I get an empty, tight feeling inside my chest when I imagine what it must be like to be them. To be controlled by the external world without taking time to analyze their options.

Because when your bladder is full, well, a toilet is a toilet.