Everyday Sexism: Lines at the Girls’ Bathrooms

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Everyday Sexism: Lines at the Girls’ Bathrooms

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Girls at Blaine high school experience sexism on a daily basis because of something so simple as their call to nature. When you glance at any set of bathrooms in the school, during the peak of passing time there will always be a long line. On the second floor especially, the lines will even spill out halfway into the hallway.

“Lines are way too long to go during passing time. It’s impossible to make it in time to your locker, the bathroom, and your next class,” says sophomore Joelle Wolf. Sophomore Rochelle Doyle attempts to use the restrooms during passing time, and the long lines have caused her to come late to class several times, but she says that “Some teachers are understanding, otherwise I’d be marked late.”

Even teachers, both male and female have had a taste of this problem. Mr. Sowden explained how one of the teacher bathrooms was created into a small gender-neutral restroom, so it left the whole male teaching staff with one restroom. “Teachers can only use the bathrooms during passing time, so it gets very crowded,” he explained.

After the new hall pass system was introduced, many girls have become cautious about using up their passes too soon. As a result, more and more girls try to sneak in a bathroom break during passing time. “The passes have exacerbated the line problem, causing us to suffer through class trying to hold it in,” says junior Camryn Heinen.

Allie Barker, a junior, explains this dilemma that many girls face. “If I can’t use my passes because I’ve almost run out of them, and if I can’t go during passing time, I sit in class and hold it in. But then I can’t focus on what I am supposed to be learning. Instead, I focus on the discomfort I feel.” Joelle also makes a point that holding in pee for prolonged periods of time regularly is damaging to the woman’s uterus, or the womb.

But even without hall passes, the problem with lines remains, and not just at Blaine High school. It haunts women at large public gatherings wherever they go: sports games, concerts, the mall.

Several factors lie behind the long, humiliating lines that every woman is forced to stand in.

“Let’s be real,” says Camryn, “girls take forever to pee.”

Researchers at Ghent University in Belgium have found that it takes a woman up to two times longer than a man to use the bathroom. And when there are about 1,500 girls at Blaine and only 3 bathrooms, it adds up. Lizzy estimates that the average wait time is 2-4 minutes depending on how crowded it is.

Additionally, women urinate more frequently than men and menstruate for 5-6 days every month.

But what most women don’t know is that men actually have more urinals and stalls combined than women have stalls. The bathrooms may be separate, but definitely not equal. “It’s outrageous,” says Allie. This issue also manifests itself at Blaine high school:

 

The Evidence: Boys’ vs. Girls bathrooms at Blaine

 

There have been calls to alleviate the line problem by allowing girls more passes per trimester. Currently, anyone is able to receive more passes if they talk with their AP.

In the near future, there will be new bathrooms added to Blaine as part of the first phase of expansion of the school from 2020 to 2021. Unfortunately, they won’t relieve the congestion in the upstairs bathrooms. However, the bathrooms in the new wing will feature a gender-neutral single stall design with a common hand washing area.

These improvements will be a great step to end the everyday sexism girls face here, but beyond Blaine, we still have some work to do.

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