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Women: stop listening to your instincts, they are wrong

(49 Posts)
WombOfOnesOwn Wed 29-Mar-17 18:16:52

This sign appeared at an acquaintance's university recently.

Imagine this logic applied in any other arena: "If you see someone who looks like they might be here for the wrong reasons or who doesn't belong here, don't criticize them or alert anyone, and instead make them feel supported and safe." Imagine it at the airport. On factory floors. In corporate board meetings.

Why do you suppose it is that only women's private spaces, where women go without cameras and surveillance and often go alone, are being targeted by this kind of messaging and rhetoric? Why is it that we have spent years as a society talking about the importance of caution and noticing our environment, only to say "yeah, but anywhere women have their pants off is an exception!"

It baffles me that "say something if you see something" is applied to a huge variety of situations involving security and safeguarding, but women's vulnerable spaces are areas where they are apparently supposed to completely ignore the same instincts they were told to hone in other situations.

That1950sMum Wed 29-Mar-17 18:24:15

But nobody is asking women to ignore behaviour they find threatening or worrying. They are simply asking that if someone is using the facilities but look male, there may be a good reason for that and women should show kindness and respect.

You draw a parallel with airports, but I hate to think anyone would judge what is dangerous based purely on looks there either.

whoputthecatout Wed 29-Mar-17 18:29:28

= Do not purposefully make them uncomfortable

But they are at liberty to make you feel uncomfortable

=Protect them from harm

But who would protect you from harm if they had entered with ill intent (yes it happens sometimes)

Please do not take this right away from them

No, just take away your right to feel comfortable in a woman's space."

FFS, are we living in some parallel universe?

almondpudding Wed 29-Mar-17 18:32:27

Was this sign actually in a bathroom?

CharlieSierra Wed 29-Mar-17 18:33:58

Plenty of women would find the behaviour of a male walking into their bathroom worrying or threatening. Now we're clear that on that we have to put up and shut up where would you draw the line That1050sMum? How would you determine what is reasonable for women to feel threatened by, given our written instructions above?

That1950sMum Wed 29-Mar-17 18:38:21

I can only comment on how I would feel and it wouldn't bother me in the slightest.

I suppose if the women in the workplace where this sign was put up genuinely feel they cannot cope with a man using a private cubicle in the same room where they are also using a private cubicle, then maybe they need to speak up.

BigDeskBob Wed 29-Mar-17 18:41:35

I can't think of a single reason why a male looking male adult would use a women's toilet when there is a mans toilet available.

almondpudding Wed 29-Mar-17 18:42:24

It's in an English university and is about bathrooms.

So mostly it concerns students rather than employees.

WombOfOnesOwn Wed 29-Mar-17 18:47:18

And of course, a women's bathroom is one of the few public places left where a man exposing himself or otherwise acting in a sexually aggressive way would be in no way recorded, allowing it to become a "he said, she said" situation in which the woman is a transphobic bigot and misinterpreted the perfectly innocent questions or requests of the sad trans person.

IAmAmy Wed 29-Mar-17 18:55:32

I can only comment on how I would feel and it wouldn't bother me in the slightest.

Good that it doesn't bother you, but because you don't care it's fine? What about women who've experienced sexual assault or male violence who may find it threatening? Also, I personally would find someone who appeared to be completely male in a women's space quite threatening in itself.

BigDeskBob Wed 29-Mar-17 18:56:04

Of course, I could have read it incorrectly, and it is in fact a sign to tell men not to harass other men in the men's loo. confused

IAmAmy Wed 29-Mar-17 18:56:53

I suppose if the women in the workplace where this sign was put up genuinely feel they cannot cope with a man using a private cubicle in the same room where they are

Presumably then you see no need for sex segregated toilet facilities at all. Many do.

HopeClearwater Wed 29-Mar-17 19:00:29

What BigDeskBob said.

You're a male, use the men's bogs. If you're a male in women's clothing, you've still got every right to use the men's toilets. Because you're male. Keep out of our toilets and put your 'tolerance and respect' posters in yours.

QueenOfTheSardines Wed 29-Mar-17 19:02:07

There was a similar sign in bristol a while back which was more blunt:


tribpot Wed 29-Mar-17 19:04:19

Were these posters not in both sets of loos?

QueenOfTheSardines Wed 29-Mar-17 19:04:54

I think that's not quite right. Women are being asked to ignore behaviour they find threatening or worrying.

They aren't supposed to act until a crime is committed.

Lochan Wed 29-Mar-17 19:20:36

The problem I have with this is not with a transgender person quietly going about their business in the toilets.

The problem is that this sign effectively gives any man the permission to enter this space. Regardless of how he identifies or presents himself.

So an abusive man (not transgender) can now follow a woman that he's harassing into the Ladies toilet and if questioned can say "I'm gender questioning" and who could argue?

He doesn't have to be overtly behaving "badly" to be threatening.

I don't know how to resolve this issue while being fair to transgender women.

I'd be very interested to hear from the OP whether this poster is displayed in the Gents as well.

GlitterGlue Wed 29-Mar-17 19:47:58

Were these posters not in both sets of loos?

I don't think anyone would be surprised if they weren't.

IAmAmy Wed 29-Mar-17 19:55:35

Lochan exactly that; it's extremely worrying. Such a man could do that and yet the woman could end up being derided and abused as a "transphobe".

Bambambini Wed 29-Mar-17 19:59:16

I wonder how women/girls really feel about this. I'm not a shrinking violet but when i walk into the ladies and there is a msle cleaner or maintenance guy - it throws me, i do feel iff guard and uncomfortable.

Bambambini Wed 29-Mar-17 20:02:23

Imagine walking into a women's loo and it's just you and an obvious male (trans or otherwise) - imagine just you and a group of men. I've actually been there and the mrn were very much breaking my boundaries.

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Wed 29-Mar-17 20:07:25

I don't give a stuff about men transgender or otherwise using the female bogs as concerns myself but I do mind for dd, who is getting to the age now where she can start going to the loo in cafes etc by herself. For very good reason. Offences against young girls are overwhelmingly committed by male persons. This development directly impedes safe development of independence for young girls.
I also respect the fact that while I don't mind other women might for very good reason.

SomeDyke Wed 29-Mar-17 20:18:30

Unless this was only up in the Students Union (which can be pretty weird places frankly as regards their own trendy 'inclusive' toilets!), then there are employees and students in most university buildings.

Being largely open-access buildings with LOTS of youngish women, who do get suspicious men in the ladies loos here far too often. When security are alerted, they used to say something like, there is a suspicious man hanging about around the ladies loo. If the advice in these signs was taken literally, then all your standard pervert would have to do is walk in as if they own the place (as opposed, say, to departing at speed when they see security), and 'claim' , if anyone DARED to question them, that they were 'gender questioning'. It really IS a pervs charter! Unless they start wanking in front of you (as opposed say, to just parking themselves in the next cubicle for the afternoon for a mega-sesh ), then there is nothing we are supposed to be objecting to! Okay, I suppose then you could at least complainworry that someone might be ill cos they have been in the cubicle a long time and there seems to be a lot of heavy breathing..............

Suck it up ladies, and get ready to be someone elses entertainment!

Plus no one seems to be worrying about what the many female students with religious objections to sharing personal spaces with males think of it. Trans trumps anything else...................especially female safety and female comfort (and female anything, frankly.).

Just to add, I'm butch so used to eliciting the odd look or comment when I enter the ladies, but I would never expect such a sign to be put up to make me feel more comfortable -- it's not needed cos I am female.

Lochan Wed 29-Mar-17 20:27:50

Bamba makes an excellent point.

When I was at Uni the University rugby team "invaded" the women's loos in the Union hammering on the doors and harassing the women in there.

As I recall they were fined (which we didn't think was good enough at the time)

Twenty years later, I wonder whether those women would even had grounds to complain that a large group of 6ft tall 17 stone men were in their toilets, cat calling and intimidating them.

VestalVirgin Wed 29-Mar-17 21:00:31

Males must be made to feel safe in the women's toilets, but the other way round, the male is of course not asked to make the women (who actually belong there) feel safe by, you know, not using their female spaces.

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