Probably the most difficult part of ridding the US of the gender binary is by getting rid of gender altogether. This led me to start thinking about the whole bathroom controversy in North Carolina. One Winter ago I had the pleasure of visiting Israel. I was surprised to see how much more fluid gender was, particularly when it came to bathrooms. The first time I had to go, I noticed that there was no label. Men and women shared the same bathroom. This weirded me out because I had never seen anything like it before, but it was such a normal thing there that I didn’t think anything of it.
I’m sure that you all have heard about the controversial issue of people who identify with a certain gender are not permitted to go to the bathroom with the gender that they identify themselves. This is a major issue that corresponds hand-in-hand with the readings. Particularly, “What it means to Be Gendered Me,” where the author identifies as a woman, however was born with male attributes, and isn’t feminine. In the article it’s stated “Bending gender rules and passing between genders doesn’t erode but rather preserve gender boundaries”(Lucal), this made me think about Caitlyn Jenner, and what impact she has on helping to break gender stereotypes with her now extreme femininity. Society sees her as this role model in transgender community, and won most powerful woman of the year. This type of instantaneous shift strengthens our idea of what genders are instead of tearing down gender barriers. I’m not downplaying Caitlyn’s courage, however is she fighting the wrong battle? Instead of marching down to North Carolina and peeing in a women’s bathroom, should we be trying to do away with gendered bathrooms in general? Also, I understand that she feels better being addressed as a woman, but she went out and got a a ton of plastic surgery to fit what society believes a woman should look like, which I feel doesn’t progress gender normativity. Again, this just makes it even more difficult for people such as Betsy Lucal, who is a masculine female.
The big question is, how do we breakdown gender barriers in America? A little more than 30 years ago, bathrooms were divided by race, so maybe it’s not out of reach to completely assimilate bathrooms. All I know is that there a lot more people “doing gender” than not, so it is going to be a difficult battle to erase these social construct. No matter how difficult erasing gender from our society is, it is much more difficult to reach the destination without a map.