It has become such an architectural norm that bathrooms are gendered that the very inquiry undermining their necessity fails to ever arise. What’s interesting is that the fifth floor bathroom at Parsons is coed. With its many stalls, men and women pass through all the time. Washing my hands alongside another gentleman afterwards feels, to be completely honest, a little uncomfortable. Agreed this uneasiness is a product of socialization reinforced through repetition. Pardon my crudeness, but it is strange how the act of defecating in a space that isn’t gendered invites the possibility of sexual tension or shame.
To frame it within a psychoanalytical discourse, Sigmund Freud extrapolated an individual’s psychosexual development to a passage in one’s youth from the “oral stage” to that of the anal. He argues that the release of lets say urination is akin to an orgasm. Given the historical specificity of Freud’s research and it’s role in the proliferation of sex taboos that reinforced sexual repression, it interesting to speculate what part he played in the normativization of gendered bathrooms.