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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Marks & Spencer protest

371 replies

invisibleoldwoman · 18/04/2018 14:39

Here is an email sent to M&S today.

"I needed new bras. Normally I go to one of your stores, get fitted, get advice and buy several. Have a look around generally and maybe coffee or lunch in the cafe. Now, I cannot deal with the stress of worrying about whether I will have to deal with a male fitter, or men in the changing rooms. So I have bought my bras somewhere I don't have to deal with this. I have decided not to use your online shop as I do not wish to support a company that makes it impossible for me to feel comfortable visiting a changing room or asking for a personal service."

I have decided to send this sort of feedback everytime I fail to buy something somewhere where they have gone along with the self-id policy.

OP posts:
thebewilderness · 19/04/2018 03:56

Given all their cubicles have lockable doors, I don't see it as being an issue.
They lied about the cubicles with lockable doors. Curtained partitions are neither cubicles nor lockable.

AncientLights · 19/04/2018 08:30

I suggest we do a survey of M&S changing rooms then, do they have curtains or are they enclosed cubicles etc? Just pop into your local M&S that has changing rooms to check them out. Then we report back to M&S via their website if they do in fact still have curtains. They really can't get away with lying if they are doing so. I imagine we cover pretty much the entire UK on here so we'll get a good picture of what's really going on. Talking of pictures, we could submit photographic proof of any curtained cubicles that still exist. Who's up for it?

Nikephorus · 19/04/2018 08:46

And do you really think all the women in changing rooms are thinking lovely non- judgemental thoughts?
Not to mention the fact that us lesbians are in there too - we're probably perving over the sight of some woman with a non-perfect body in really unflattering lighting too. Perhaps we should have separate changing rooms for gay & straight biologically-female-from-conception women then?
I'm not for having unisex toilets (personally I'd like single-sex ones with fully-enclosed cubicles and nice quiet hand-dryers that work as well as either roller-towels or paper towels but hey) but that's only because it seems more intimate / personal. If some random bloke really feels the need to pretend to be a woman just so he can get some weird thrill from catching a glimpse of me trying something on then he can go for it. Trust me, it's really not a good sight.

spicerack · 19/04/2018 08:50

Even if they have floor to ceiling lockable doors, its not a solution. You can end up in a confined space with someone who does not mean you well.

That could be said for men and women though, no? Is it only men who " don't mean you well"? Can women not have bad intentions when in a confined space with another woman too?

Pratchet · 19/04/2018 08:52

They always pick the jobs where they'll cause the most upset

Bye m and s

I'm open to all recommendations on a decent bra fitter, I've lost a bunch of weight

Pratchet · 19/04/2018 08:53

Spice rack that's ridiculous.

erazerhead · 19/04/2018 08:57

Presumably you mean non-trans men who are abusing the self id policy rather than 'genuine' trans women? op's letter wasnt at all clear what she actually meant.

MsBeaujangles · 19/04/2018 08:59

Traditionally, since women have become more powerful consumers anyway, we have had same-sex changing rooms. The reasoning relating to dignity, privacy and safety.

These threads always highlight that for some women, single-sex changing areas are not important to them. They do not feel that undressing in sight of people with male-sexed bodies. They also highlight that many women do mind.

Surely stores can accommodate different wishes. All people should be afforded dignity, privacy and respect. M&S stores are big enough to have male, female and gender neutral facilities. Surely this is a reasonable way forward?

spicerack · 19/04/2018 08:59

@Pratchet why?

Merchfach · 19/04/2018 09:03

Taking a lead from Man Friday, a few weeks ago I went along on a Friday to M&S, picked up some bright and obviously female clothing from the racks and then went to the men's changing rooms, where the chap supervising greeted me warmly and without surprise and showed me into one of the cubicles, which each had lockable doors. There didn't appear to be anywhere for anyone to stick a camera under the walls/door or over the top.

I didn't encounter any other men on my way in or out. I had hoped a male customer would object to my presence so that we could start a discussion, but no luck.

On my way out I gave the guy in charge a leaflet and explained why I was there and he listened politely and said that as the women's changing rooms get very busy he often has women changing in the men's, but because they are so secure and because there is someone supervising he didn't think it would be a problem. To be honest, I don't think it looks or feels like a problem either. Obviously things would be different if it your local M&S has flimsy curtained-off cubicles with a six-inch gap someone can stick a camera through.

MsBeaujangles · 19/04/2018 09:04

Nike. I don’t think undressing in front of lesbians comprises my dignity or privacy whereas doing so in front of male bodied people, whatever their sexual orientation, does.
Based on the law of averages, I feel safer undressing in front of females than males.

LassWiADelicateAir · 19/04/2018 09:09

These threads always highlight that for some women, single-sex changing areas are not important to them. They do not feel that undressing in sight of people with male-sexed bodies

Trying on clothes in a locked cubicle is not undressing in sight of anyone.

SusanBunch · 19/04/2018 09:26

Lass- I agree with you. There's such a thing as picking your battles.

Possibility of non-operative violent males being housed in female prisons- a major concern that needs to be addressed and adequate legislation put in place to prevent it.

A rumour on a forum that one M&S store (I remember the thread) had a transgender bra fitter- not so much a major concern (in my opinion).

People heading over to this site and reading posts like this are likely to think Hmm maybe there is some merit to what people are accusing MN of.

SirVixofVixHall · 19/04/2018 09:27

Spice rack - ninety eight per cent of sexual crimes are committed by male people. Your chance of being sexually assaulted by a female person is vanishingly tiny.
I experienced a cross dresser with a fetish using a changing room. It was a single changing cubicle in a vintage shop, and so unisex but mostly used by women-

He got a thrill from embarrassing me, asking my opinion about what (satin lingerie type things, slips etc ) would suit him, which escalated into him forcing me to look at him in a thin satin nightdress, with nothing else on, and a very obvious erection. I was barely out of my teens, and had no idea how to deal with the situation, it was horrible and frightening. I had been trying to be kind and polite. It is situations like this which make single sex space so important for women. Some women feel confident that they could challenge someone if necessary. Some women really don’t mind if there are men around while they are changing. However lots of women aren’t confident about challenging someone. Politeness (and a fear of inciting male violence) is so ingrained in me that I don’t think I would challenge someone, even now, unless I felt one of my daughters was at risk. My mother died not long ago, but she would not have used a changing room that anyone male could access. My teenage dd feels the same. So young girls, elderly women, women from certain religious groups, women who feel less confident about challenging someone, all these female people aren’t worth considering ?
Marks and Spencer’s on Oxford Street often had Saudi women in there shopping. They would not be allowed to change in a space where someone male might be, and they were big spenders, I wonder how M&S deals with that ?

SusanBunch · 19/04/2018 09:35

That is a horrific experience, SirVix. One good thing is that M&S changing rooms tend to be staffed (often by several people) which should hopefully avoid something like that happening. Is there actually an official policy from M&S that all their changing rooms are now unisex?

bd67th · 19/04/2018 09:37

@nikephorus Males outnumber females 50:1 as sex offenders. Your claim that "men are at the same risk of women installing hidden cameras to spy on them" is patently untrue: men are at 2% of the risk of opposite-sex voyeurism compared to women. This is one of the reasons why we want single-sex spaces.

sallyannemum · 19/04/2018 09:37

I cannot believe I am reading such rubbish, Lock the door , ask for a female Bra fitter I am sure there are some that will carry their birth certificates for you to check they are female , as we know these Trans Women sometimes are hard to spot, Hidden Cameras oh please really you are all so paranoid,
This is nothing more than a hyped up witch hunt on Transgender women, did you know they also buy bras, as they need them as well,

MsBeaujangles · 19/04/2018 09:40

Lass, apparently not all M&S changing rooms are locked cubicle type. Posters have said some branches have curtain partitions.

Merchfach · 19/04/2018 09:45

I don't imagine a woman in a chador or niqab would dream of stripping off in a public changing room of any kind.

I hear what women are saying about past experiences and so on, and the example of the perv getting a teenage girl to admire him in a satin slip is awful. But from my experience of today's M&S that is extremely unlikely to happen.

I notice someone upthread has suggested we pick our battles carefully and I couldn't agree more.

SusanBunch · 19/04/2018 09:45

But I can't find any reference to M&S having unisex changing rooms. I can however see an article from this year saying they refused entry to the changing rooms to a trans person at their Oxford Street store. So where is the motivation for the letter of complaint coming from? Is it from the rumours on here that one store out of god knows how many may or may not have a trans bra fitter? Or is there something I am missing?

Ellenripleysalienbaby · 19/04/2018 09:46

If the cubicles are lockable and safe, why can't transwomen just change in the men's then?

Nikephorus · 19/04/2018 09:48

Eventually shops will be so sick of having to pander to everyone's latest fads & complaints that they'll just abolish changing rooms completely and then you'll all be moaning that you have to take things home to try them on.
Changing rooms have assistants hanging round (policing how many items you can take in!) so they're not that dangerous. Statistically I'd suggest you're more at risk once you've left the shop and have gone back to the multi-storey car park so perhaps start a campaign for single-sex car parks instead....

Pratchet · 19/04/2018 09:49

Y exactly Ellen. Sauce for the goose etc.

Rufustheconstantreindeer · 19/04/2018 09:49

they would not be allowed to change in a space where someone male might be

Not saudi or a large shop

But where i work a lady came in who could not be seen with short sleeves by a man...she kept coming onto the shop floor to show her husband and one of us had to be on duty spotting whether a another man was on the floor

Ellenripleysalienbaby · 19/04/2018 09:50

This is nothing more than a hyped up witch hunt on Transgender women, did you know they also buy bras, as they need them as well

Not necessarily if they are 'self identifying women'.

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