Tag Archives: gender

Today, the degradation of the inner life is symbolized by the fact that the only place sacred from interruption is the private toilet. — Lewis Mumford

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Using the toilet is a basic human need. Everyone needs to relieve themselves and defecate; these are natural bodily functions. As  small children, going to the bathroom is typically a shameless affair. It is not unusual to do your business under the care and supervision of a parent or caregiver at home and in public washrooms. I remember accompanying my mother into public women’s washrooms as a small boy when I had to go. As we grow older, using the bathroom becomes a more private affair. People generally prefer to respond to the call of nature without an audience. This preference was brought home to me the time while serving in the Canadian Army I found myself and my regiment taking part in an exercise at a National Guard camp in Grayling, Michigan. In 1979 at least, the U.S. Army did not concern itself with privacy in the washroom facilities for the lower ranks. The urinal was an open trough and the “shitters” were in a row in plain view. Pooping in plain view of your comrades took a little getting used to. Fortunately, with existing etiquette concerning public washrooms one is generally assured a modicum of privacy. In addition, public washrooms are designated for men and women separately. This has long been the norm and quite reasonable, so how did public washroom etiquette become such a hot button issue in recent history? Continue reading

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I have always believed that I should have had no difficulty in causing my rights to be respected. — Eli Whitney

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Equality between the sexes, particularly the equality and participation of women is something we value in Canadian society. This is enshrined in Canadian law in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Section 15 Equality Rights, which expressly prohibits discrimination based on sex and allows for the legislation of affirmative action laws designed for the “amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.” (Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms). Moreover, since 1971 among the departments of the government of Canada, you will find that of the Status of Women Canada. The mandate of Status of Women Canada is to promote “equality for women and their full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada.” (Status of Women Canada) Yes, the status of women is taken very seriously in Canadian society, but what of the status of men? Continue reading

A hallucination is a fact, not an error; what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it. — Bertrand Russell

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Gender neutrality or gender-neutralism or the gender neutrality movement, is a topic that keeps cropping up in discussions across the blogosphere. These terms describe “the idea that policies, language, and other social institutions should avoid distinguishing roles according to people’s sex or gender, in order to avoid discrimination arising from the impression that there are social roles for which one gender is more suited than the other.” (Wikipedia) At face value this looks quite reasonable. Historically, the division of labour in the Western world was based on sex. Men worked outside the home and were mobilised in times of war to fight; whereas, women worked in the home and acted as a reserve labour force when the men were away fighting in wartime. In the present, men and women work along side one another in the labour force and in the military. Sex or gender based segregation is largely a thing of the past, but for a very long time it was a reality. There were occupations and past-times that were denied to women because they were deemed unsuitable for women. Continue reading