Which toilet should I go?

October 10, 2018


“… three understandings of gender: individual gender concerns the gender self-identification of a single person, gender structure refers to the division of labor between genders, and gender symbolism describes the association of gender with characteristics other than the individual or the division or labor.” – Gendering Infrastructure, 2011

In this article, the authors describe the relationships between gender understandings and society. Gender refers not only how people understand themselves, but also influence society in many different ways, such as infrastructure, artifacts, and technologies.

The most toilets in the world are divided into two parts, one for male and one for female. For those who do not identify themselves as male or female, there is always inner struggle when they choose which one they go. But also when people see them in the toilet, where people think they do not belong there, new-genders are always judged in an unreasonable way. Because people should not be judged in any way.

So when the first gender neutral toilet signs at a Swedish museum came out in 2015, there was a sparked debate in Sweden. The neutral gender signs for toilets are known for openness and tolerance for all kinds of gender. These signs avoid the difference between individual gender and gender structure, in other words, the difference between how people treat themselves and how society treats them.

Nowadays, there are more and more toilets without any sign on the entrance door for public, for example, the toilets in Architecture School at KTH. The movements like the neutral gender signs shows that, not only how people identify themselves matters, but also how society treat the neutral gender people matters. And this sign shows infrastructure is influenced by gender in a visible way.

Xiaowei Wei_Task 1


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