AC VOICE

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Amherst College’s Bathroom Problem

The first floor of Merrill has one women’s room that seems more similar in size to the elevator than either of the men’s rooms

The first floor of Merrill has one women’s room that seems more similar in size to the elevator than either of the men’s rooms

(Gina Faldetta)– I can’t sit through an hour and twenty minute class without having to pee at least once. It’s really unfortunate because it makes me seem like I don’t care about the class. I just like to stay hydrated! And, yeah, I do take a lot of Econ lecture courses.

But these numerous bathroom breaks have given me the opportunity to form some strong opinions on the bathrooms at our school, specifically in the academic buildings and libraries. Once, on a whim, I went to the men’s room on the second floor of Frost, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

I think it’s safe to say that most of us choose to only use either the men’s or women’s restrooms here on campus. This is not to erase the identities of members of our community who identify outside of the gender binary. I’ll get to that. But assuming that most people use one or the other, it goes fairly unnoticed that all bathrooms at Amherst are not created equal.

The good news is that the newer buildings, like Keefe and Beneski, have equivalent men’s and women’s rooms. The designs of newer buildings facilities make it clear that urinals are equated to stalls, meaning that if a women’s room has two stalls, then an equivalent men’s room will have one stall and one urinal. This is good to keep in mind when evaluating the plethora of urinals in some of the men’s rooms on campus.

The men’s room I used on that fateful day last fall is just around the corner from its (supposedly) equivalent women’s room. But while that women’s restroom is cramped and furnished with two stalls and one sink, the men’s room only a few feet away is spacious, well-lit, and complete with three stalls, four urinals, and three sinks. What?

Frost’s second floor women’s room (left) and men’s room (right)

Frost’s second floor women’s room (left) and men’s room (right)

With a little investigating, I realized that this was part of a larger pattern of men’s bathrooms on campus being generally superior to their female counterparts. In this regard, Frost is one of the biggest offenders. While its first-floor bathrooms are on par with one another, its other levels exhibit the same kind of inequality as the second floor. On A-Level, the women’s room has three stalls and two sinks, while the men’s room has two stalls, three urinals, and three sinks. B-level has a rather disheartening women’s room with one stall and one sink while the men’s room boasts one stall, two urinals, and two sinks.

Merrill’s facilities are similarly biased. The fourth floor women’s room has two stalls and two sinks, while the men’s room has two stalls, two urinals, and two sinks. The second floor is the same. Similarly, the third floor women’s room has two stalls and three sinks (the logic of this is beyond me) while the men’s room has two stalls, two urinals, and two sinks.

But what’s really cute is the first floor of Merrill, which has one tiny women’s room, equipped with one stall and two sinks, and two men’s rooms, both with two stalls and two urinals. One has one sink, one has two. So the first floor of Merrill can accommodate eight men doing their business, but only one woman. It’s a good thing women are made of glitter and cotton candy rather than human organs!

My personal favorite bathroom injustice to complain about is in Chapin Chapel. Classes are held on the first and second floors of the building, while restrooms for both genders are located in the basement, and a men’s room is conveniently located on the second floor. So if you’re a woman taking a class on the second floor of Chapin, you’re expected to travel down two flights of stairs to the basement to use the dark, dank women’s room. This means that women have to miss more class time if, god forbid, they have to pee.

Converse is infamous for having the crappiest bathroom set-up, but for those who are unfamiliar with it, the men’s room is located on the first landing (between the first and second floors) and the women’s is on the second landing (between the second and third floors). As there are plenty of offices and classrooms on the first, second, and third floors, it’s a pretty fair situation in terms of location. But, unsurprisingly, the men’s bathroom has two stalls, one urinal, and two sinks in comparison to the women’s two stalls and two sinks.

The handicap-accessible restrooms are located in the basement, which one can presumably access via the building’s elevator. The men’s room is newly renovated, with two stalls, a urinal, and two sinks. The women’s room – which, during the renovations of the men’s room, served as a unisex bathroom – has a measly one stall and two sinks. This familiar set-up raises the question of whether our school’s architects think women don’t have bowels or bladders but compensate for this by obsessively washing their hands. Maybe we’re meant to pee in the sinks?

The newly renovated men's room in the basement of Converse

The newly renovated men’s room in the basement of Converse

To make clear the inequality we’re dealing with here, I’ll sum up: in the buildings of Frost, Merrill, Chapin, and Converse there are a total of 52 places for men to do their business (27 toilets and 25 urinals) and only 22 toilets for women. This is not to mention the difference in bathroom spaciousness or convenience. You don’t have to be a “hardcore feminist” to see something wrong with this picture.

Now, you might be thinking, of course it’s not malicious. The school was originally designed for men and it’s hard to renovate! (Not so hard that they didn’t redo the men’s basement-level bathroom in Converse. It’s really nice in there.) But there’s a pretty easy solution to the disparity between the gendered bathrooms. This solution has, in fact, already been employed by the lovely people of the basement level of Converse. Why not make more bathrooms gender-neutral?

You’ve heard the case for gender-neutral bathrooms before – it’s more inclusive to trans* individuals, as well as those who don’t identify with the gender binary. Many trans* people have spoken about the difficulties of navigating gendered bathrooms, and even people who deviate from stereotypical performances of gender, such as butch women, have given accounts of the problems caused by the enforcement of gender in public bathrooms. Judith “Jack” Halberstam in the introduction to Female Masculinity describes this as “The Bathroom Problem.”

And, in the case of Amherst College, gender neutrality in bathrooms would clearly serve to benefit even the most feminine cisgendered women. I’ve seen a line of women waiting outside of the single-use women’s room in Fayerweather when the identical single-use men’s room was unoccupied. These arbitrary labels for single-use restrooms can easily go, without making even the most gender essentialist individuals feel uncomfortable. If the school is unwilling to go through the expensive and time-consuming process of renovating and redoing a lot of restrooms, Amherst should make more bathrooms gender-neutral.

Gender-neutral bathrooms would also be good for building community and breaking down the walls of gender difference erected by society. Several residences on campus already feature gender-neutral bathrooms, including houses on the Hill as well as Humphries. It’s difficult to combat gender inequality while still enforcing the perceived need for men and women to use different spaces to perform the same bodily functions. Sharing bathrooms on campus would be a good step towards bridging the gaps between men and women at Amherst.

Bathrooms in Frost and Merrill could easily have signs indicating “restroom with/without urinals,” which would spare a lot of individuals the stress of being forced to make statements about their gender identity every time they have to pee, and would save a lot of women on campus the time of waiting to use a toilet. This “bathroom problem” is a good opportunity for the school to step up – and into the twenty-first century – in terms of improving gender equality on campus as well as trans* inclusiveness.

About Gina Faldetta

You only have to look at the Medusa straight on to see her. And she's not deadly. She's beautiful and she's laughing.

95 comments on “Amherst College’s Bathroom Problem

  1. Anonymous
    March 4, 2014

    This is hands down the dumbest article I have ever read.

    • Anonymous
      March 4, 2014

      I wholeheartedly agree with Anonymous.

    • Anonymous
      March 4, 2014

      agreed.

    • bertmacklin
      March 4, 2014

      I come to the comments to read ,commentary, not some circlejerk of people who aren’t actually contributing. I wanna hear why you think its dumb.

      • guest
        March 5, 2014

        If you didn’t want to read a circlejerk then why are you on AC Voice?

      • Tetsuoooooo
        March 5, 2014

        I came to the comments to break the echochamber by reading reasonable dissent. Unproductive insults are no better than crappy articles.

        Brb gotta go fingerblast myself.

    • Anonymous
      March 6, 2014

      Comments are legendary. Best article ever. Keep up the good work Gina

  2. Lilia Paz
    March 4, 2014

    I have class everyday in Converse. One of them is about 70% women so when we take our 5 minute break, we all go to the bathroom on the second floor and form a long queue. Or I go down to the basement if I’m feeling energetic. Either way, takes a lot of time and I usually get to class later than all my classmates.

    • Anonymous
      March 5, 2014

      You know adding a few stalls to the women’s bathroom won’t solve that problem right?

  3. Anonymous
    March 4, 2014

    This may as well be a MuckRake parody of ACVoice. What will you complain about next?

    • Liya Rechtman
      March 4, 2014

      Check your privilege for a moment: just because you haven’t thought about an issue or you’ve taken it for granted doesn’t mean it’s not an issue for other people.

      Here is a woman citing multiple examples of ways in which this has been an inconvenience for her to the benefit of men. If you are a man (or, as the writer points out a genderqueer or gender-non-conforming or trans* individual), you would do share that experience.

      • Anonymous
        March 4, 2014

        This is Exhibit A of my problem with ACVoice. In calling the 20 extra steps you sometimes must take and 30 extra seconds you sometimes must wait to go to the bathroom due to poor architecture in old buildings “male privilege,” you basically turn what could be a substantive discussion about privilege on campus into a farce composed of trivialities like this that simply drive people away. Myself included.

    • Anonymous
      March 4, 2014

      I came in expecting something ridiculous too, but as I read on, I really didn’t see anything wrong with her argument. She says that men have more places to pee – this sucks under the principle of equality, but also in practice because it leads to lines in the bathrooms – something I, as a guy, cannot stand. What’s the issue here buddy? I would understand that if her response was calling for someone to be fired or resign that I would be like, “ok calm down ACVoice,” but her suggestion is just some basic rethinking about bathrooms.

      It’s too easy to drop anonymous, non-specific, insulting comments that play off of Amherst stereotypes (oh lol ACVoice is so radical once again). It’s harder to actually respond to what she’s saying. Tell everyone why you don’t like this piece. Don’t be lazy.

      • Anonymous
        March 6, 2014

        ^ *snaps*

  4. Anonymous
    March 4, 2014

    This is actually laughable. Women… feel free to use the urinals.

  5. Anonymous
    March 4, 2014

    Not that this makes up for the rest of campus, but I’ve always found it funny that McGuire only has women’s restrooms. And, though a further walk, they should also be considered when counting bathrooms in Merrill.

  6. Alum '12
    March 4, 2014

    “And, in the case of Amherst College, gender neutrality in bathrooms would clearly serve to benefit even the most feminine cisgendered women.”

    While I am fully in favor of gender neutral bathrooms, I have only ever heard objections to gender neutral bathrooms at Amherst from cis women. I feel like this might be a tough sell to people who fear that gender neutral bathrooms will allow for predatory men to more easily exploit women (example: the RC of Garman either this or last year was considering making the single stall bathroom on the first floor female only, despite a majority of the residents on that floor being male).

    • Liya Rechtman
      March 4, 2014

      Here in this article is one cis woman saying differently, and she has linked to an article by another cis woman currently at Amherst sharing her opinion (http://acvoice.com/2011/10/17/desegregate-amherst/). So that’s two who have not only disagreed with that prevailing notion, but who have disagreed so strongly that they were activated to write articles about the issue.

      • Anonymous
        March 4, 2014

        1. Don’t be so cute about the ‘another cis woman’. You wrote that piece. Let’s just acknowledge that, rather than cite it as though it’s an additional voice.

        2. Rustle up some better logic. ACVoice publishes whatever issue-of-the-week comes to its ‘writers’ minds. That two people wrote about something shows nothing more than that two people woke up in the morning, logged onto their social justice accounts, and scratched off another post. Let’s not inflate the importance of this site.

        I’ll repeat that again, for all AC Voice staff to review – let’s not inflate the importance of this site.

      • Alum '12
        March 4, 2014

        I’m glad they feel that way. I did not say they were wrong, nor that I disagreed with them. I have only shared my experience at Amherst, living 3 out of 4 years in dorms with gender neutral bathrooms and having raised the concept in many discussions, that I have heard more than two (try 10+) cis women who have been strongly against the concept generally for reasons of personal safety, particularly in dorms.

        But really, two outspoken people does not a majority make, otherwise we might have made a bit more progress in institutional changes in sexual respect policy, don’t you think? I’m glad you feel that two cis women speak for all 900 women at Amherst. I sincerely hope that they do and that the administration responds, but I hope you realize how ridiculous that sounds.

      • Anon
        March 6, 2014

        Liya, you and Gina need check your privilege on that one. The article that you’re citing (the one that you actually wrote yourself) is ridiculously offensive.

        My favorite quote:
        “Basically, not discriminating and segregating between people of different gender identities is one more step towards universal tolerance in the same way that desegregating water fountains between was in the 1950s.”

        My favorite quote from Gina (from the comments):
        “NOT to appropriate the racial oppression historically and currently experienced by black Americans, but there is a very similar line of logic that one can draw here. It’s easy, from a position of privilege, to view such an issue as bathrooms on campus as trivial, but I’d like to think that commenters here would not also say that “the extra twenty steps and extra thirty seconds” it takes to get to the back of the bus is not a big deal and should not be complained about.”

        Both you and Gina (in the comments below) are comparing the plight of African-Americans during Jim Crow (i.e. US-Apartheid) to significantly more benign gender inequalities at Amherst College like bathroom representation.

        There are more substantive instances of intersectional gender bias that affects individuals on campus. They significantly and disproportionately affect underrepresented minorities that are cis-gendered and queer alike.

        Underrepresented cis-gendered women and queer people of color face institutional discrimination that can be more justifiably compared to segregation on this campus, and yet these very individuals would reluctantly make the comparisons to the Jim Crow that you have.

        My problem with you and Gina is that you both are insensitive and privileged enough, so privileged that you are oblivious to it (to the extent that you invoke the maxim “check your privilege” to everyone) that in the very articles that you write to expose institutional failures and privilege in others you offend and hurt many individuals that you believe you stand up for (see my comment below about cultural imperialism).

        As Danica comments below, this failure on your part reveals a failure in the very institution of the ACVoice. The ACVoice is a publication that monopolizes definitions of a host of social justice jargon like “privilege” and “activism” through writers like yourself and Gina Faldetta who ironically are oblivious to their privilege.

        This is the privilege that allows you to define what the BSU is without being a member, or compare bathroom inequality at Amherst College to a time when people of color were hung by their necks on trees because of the color of their skin and have people believe your logic.

        STOP THIS NONSENSE…

        —-CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE—-

      • Liya Rechtman
        March 6, 2014

        Just to clarify for anyone confused about this: yes, I am aware that the link I cited here was my own. Gina also cited it in the article. I am actually using my name so I wasn’t trying to obfuscate that.

      • Liya Rechtman
        March 6, 2014

        Also, are you aware of the concept that there is more than one hierarchy of privilege? Someone may be privileged in one way and lacking privilege in another. For example, I am white, cis and attending Amherst College – these are immense privileges. I am also a woman, queer and Jewish – these are identities which often marginalize me and restrict my access to equal resources and safety both on campus and in life generally. One set of privileges does not cancel out the other. I, like you, am simultaneously privileges in some identities and marginalized in others. This is part of what it means to embody intersecting identities. So when I tell you to “check your privilege” about gender issues as a man (when men have historically and currently had privilege over women) that does not mean that I do not acknowledge that I have certain kinds of privilege you don’t have. You’re completely right, I have to check my privilege as well, but neither negates the other.

        When I or Gina have compared the gender segregated bathrooms with racially segregated bathrooms most importantly does not mean that we see the two to have the same weight. However, just because two things are not similar in all ways does not mean that there is no similarity between them. Let me give you a non-political example of this: if I were to say that lava and water were alike in that they were both liquid, and fluid, would not mean that I think lava is as harmless as lava or that lava is easy to drink, like water. The fact that the two are dissimilar in certain ways does not mean that there are not other similarities between them. So back to the bathroom/water fountain situation: both are forms of segregation of individuals/groups based on immutable qualities. In one instance, that quality is race and in the other that quality is gender. In some ways the two are similar: women are denied access to easier-to-find bathrooms on campus whereas men have a greater choice of bathrooms and in more convenient locations. The disparity constitutes a structural inequality on a micro-level. This quality of the bathroom location and convenience on campus is comparable to the problems of segregated water fountains. There are also dissimilarities between the two examples: the bathroom segregation is lower stakes with more subtle (less overt) forms of discrimination attached than in the water fountain situation. In this way the two examples are different. Just because we both compare the two does not mean we (or I, I don’t want to speak for Gina here) don’t also acknowledge that difference.

        Since you keep bringing up my response to the BSU article this fall, I feel like it’s my place to clarify, here: when you initially sent me and the ACVoice staff your BSU response to the racism on campus, I spent a great deal of time and energy trying to edit and bolster your prose so that when the campus read the important things you had to say they would really hear and pay attention to your critique of Amherst as a frequently racist and silencing community. My only major criticism of your argument, as you know by now, was that I hoped you would include some actionable next step or at least target a specific area so that readers could come from you article having a sense of where to direct their anger. Ideally, this would lead towards the creation of incremental change. As a person who has also been affected by hate speech on campus (I am thinking of the various swastikas drawn on campus), I was really looking to BSU to help marginalized members of campus fight ignorance. I was disappointed, therefore, when instead of engaging my criticisms, you ignored them and decided to publish your letter without them in The Student. I then took the edits that I had already told you privately and published them in my article.

      • Danica Richards
        March 6, 2014

        Liya, I hate to return to this, but I need you to understand something.

        Your quote: “I spent a great deal of time and energy trying to edit and bolster your prose so that when the campus read the important things you had to say they would really hear and pay attention to your critique of Amherst as a frequently racist and silencing community. My only major criticism of your argument, as you know by now, was that I hoped you would include some actionable next step or at least target a specific area so that readers could come from you article having a sense of where to direct their anger.”

        Whooomp, there it is. This is the problem that ‘Anon’ and I are trying to point out to you. And you can’t see it because your privilege obscures it from you. In case anyone is unclear about this before I continue, I do not represent the BSU nor did I have anything to do with the composition of their letter, but obviously I am an interested party in this conflict.

        Why were you, Liya, trying to edit the piece? Was it riddled with typos (I doubt this…)? This absolutely reads to me like you monitoring the words and actions of another activist organization. Why do you feel that without your proposed edits, the BSU would be unable to express their feelings and garner the attention that they needed? I know why, because whether or not you realize it, you were attempting to police the language of a minority, activist group on this campus. This has deep, dark roots in American history, fyi.

        If you would like reading on this subject, do check out “Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the U.S.

        Furthermore, you said your criticism was that the BSU didn’t provide an actionable next step. Again, I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself (and felt the palpable irritation of those around me) when I say that this argument is patronizing and pedantic. While this particular incident was more blatant, racism on the Amherst College campus is subversive, silencing, and cyclical. For you to demand “action” from an organization that you are -not- a part of, while at the same time critiquing their linguistic approach to expressing their disgust for racism on this campus is something you (apparently) feel comfortable doing because of your privilege. Your privilege allows you the ability to demand ‘answers’ from an activist organization representing a minority that you are not a part of, while allowing you to fail to recognize that you should be demanding these answers from an apathetic student body, an administration with no mechanism in place to subvert hate crimes, and more.

        Like I said, Liya, much respect for your other articles, but I simply could not bypass this comment because I found it too problematic.

      • response to Danica
        March 7, 2014

        Hey Danica – thanks for commenting and sorry to butt in: but isn’t Liya Rechtman the editor in chief of this site? She probably edited the BSU letter because it was sent to her to publish, not because she was “monitoring” anyone’s speech of presuming that BSU shouldn’t have a space to express their feelings. I think they have some kind of mentoring system (like the writing center) for people who are interested in posting. I don’t know if that’s so much an assertion of privilege as Liya doing what she promises to do as the editor of the site, which is edit.

        Typos and syntactical errors are generally the work of a copy editor, although an editor can also do them in addition to more content-based edits about stuff like how to make a point more clear. I don’t think that that’s out of line: it’s pretty much just a good thorough second reader that every piece of writing should get before it gets published.

      • Think about it
        March 7, 2014

        Hey Danica–do you have any idea what an Editor in Chief of a publication is supposed to do?

        OH THAT’S RIGHT! EDIT!

        Wait what? An EDITOR is supposed to EDIT? What a revolutionary concept.

        Moreover, the idea that Liya is not subject to racism on campus is laughable. Have we forgotten menorah incidents already? Have we forgotten the decrepit state of Cadigan, which points to the marginalization of all religious folks on campus?

        I’m amazed that

      • Think about it
        March 7, 2014

        *I’m amazed that we’re still using the word “problematic”, by the way. Say what you mean, don’t hide it in vague language that makes you *seem* like you know what you’re talking about.

      • Danica Richards
        March 7, 2014

        @ “response to Danica”

        I have no doubt in my mind that Liya had good intentions. But as I, and “Anon” have been pointing out over and over again in this post, a trending problem that I am seeing in AC VOICE (and I’m using the BSU article as my supporting example here) is the attempted monopoly on activism, and activist language. I just don’t think this is good.

        I do understand what an editor is supposed to do, but as I said in my earlier post, and as Liya seems to be suggesting in hers, I don’t think the proposed editing was necessarily in line with her job description. I mean, Liya said right there in the “Response to the BSU” article that I am referring to, and she repeats it again below that she had a problem with the argument. Not that it wasn’t clear and concise, but with the argument and the fact that she felt there were no outlined, actionable steps. That is my problem. I’m not going to re-type exactly what I said above, again, but my sentiment remains the same.

        From what I understand, the BSU was uncomfortable with the proposed edits, which is why they turned to the Amherst Student. As a fellow writer, I understand that. I’ve written articles before that when turned into an editor, the tone completely changed and what I had initially wanted to get across was no longer there. Throw in some history, and that’s policing in my eyes.

        I think that it is here that the line was crossed, and I think that this may be a symptom of the monopolization of activism that I feel AC Voice is inching towards. I think there was a lack of understanding/sensitivity for that issue. Perhaps there were good intentions behind this, but to write a (unnecessary) response condemning the language and efforts of another activist group seems rather counter-productive, especially after they decided to take their article elsewhere.

        Thanks for the response :)

        @think about it. I don’t think I said Liya wasn’t subject to racism, but if I did, my apologies. To clarify, I am only talking about this specific incident (or series of incidents. Let’s not forget, the “n word” has popped up several times on this campus). Liya is certainly subject to racism, racism that I myself am not privy to, or may not be able to witness fully. I admit that I can’t speak intelligently about antisemitism, so I’m not even going to try.

  7. Twe
    March 4, 2014

    Another point for having gender-neutral bathrooms: I’ve now thrice found myself (female) in the situation of being the only sober friend in a group and feeling responsible for watching over a blacked-out drunk male friend (different male friends each time) . Dudes will see my shoes under the stall or hear me talking to Mr. Pukey to make sure he’s conscious and ask what the hell I’m doing there…

    • Anonymous
      March 5, 2014

      (Whether or not bathrooms should all become neutral aside)
      I’m going to call bullshit. I don’t think this has ever happened. If someone is puking and someone else sees you in the stall with them, the only explanation of them questioning your presence would be their own drunkenness and inability to understand the situation. But really more likely this has never occurred and you just created a conveniently topical hypothetical situation in which the bathroom divides have created a problem for you.

      • a different person
        March 5, 2014

        I’ve also had guys tells me to leave my blacked out, belligerent friends, and have been left puking on myself by a sober male friend. He just felt too uncomfortable being in the women’s room and it took him a few minute to find my roommate.

      • TC
        March 5, 2014

        This has happened to me too. Granted, out of the 40-ish guys who used the bathroom while I was there only 3 even said anything, but it still happened.

    • Anonymous
      March 5, 2014

      Definitely BS, I’ve helped out a female friend of mine who was in need of it in the female restroom (i’m a guy), and no one questioned my being there

  8. Anonymous
    March 4, 2014

    And all this time I’d been thinking the women’s rooms had couches and potted plants!!!

  9. Truth.
    March 5, 2014

    Sad, because articles like this take away focus (and unfortunately, credibility in the eyes of some) from the real problems plaguing the College in terms of gender equality and inclusion. Congrats on another self-aggrandizing article, AC Voice. The echo-chamber you provide for “activists” to pat themselves their backs has once again proven more detrimental than constructive to the causes you wish to fix. You want to make a difference? Spend the 45 minutes you spent writing this garbage volunteering at a women’s shelter. Instead of counting toilets, count the number of nights you had the privilege of going to sleep at a school that costs $63,000 to attend while people who have lived in this town longer than you literally freeze to death outside because the shelters are full. The word “privilege” is one contributors to this website love to throw around (usually in articles couched in language that’s inaccessible to all but their fellow majors), yet rarely do I read something by a student who’s willing to turn the magnifying glass inward. As a student here, I have no doubt that I am among those lucky few as well — recognize it and use it to the extent you can to try and change things. Writing articles about bathrooms and photo-shopped pictures of Rosie the Riveter isn’t “activism”, and AC Voice isn’t a “feminist”, “pro-queer” publication: it’s a pedestal that privileged children use to pontificate to other privileged children, usually in ways that call others out others rather than undertaking the difficult task of coming to terms with their own unearned advantages. 90% of the articles published on this site aren’t just laughable — they’re offensive. Not to me, but to the people in your community who are dealing with problems a bit more significant than having to walk down a few flights of stairs to use the bathroom. Please grow up.

    • Anon
      March 5, 2014

      This is such a real response. Personally, many ACVoice articles are incredibly offensive.

      Ethan Corey’s article entitled “My Cuban Revolution”, labels Cuban society as misogynistic based on a mere study abroad experience he had there. My favorite quote from that essay was “No matter how polite and respectful I was or how many prostitutes I didn’t sleep with, nothing could change the fact that I was fundamentally similar to the tourists I scorned.”

      Liya Rechtman’s article “Action: A Response To BSU” was also ridiculously offensive in my opinion. In this article Rechtman superimposes her idea of what the BSU is without doing any prior research on the organization at Amherst College. She attempted to define the group based on her incorrect standards and accused the group of plunging the school back into the “oppressive Olympics” in response to a letter outlining the group’s outrage at the racial epithets of last year (FYI the group is both activist and an affinity group). In fact, prior to that article she never even attended a meeting.

      In my opinion, those two articles represent a growing trend from the “activist” white staff of the ACVoice. There’s tremendous emphasis on speaking rather than listening, which ironically flips the “feminist” white guilt-esque “progressive” agenda on its head to reveal it for what it is – self-lauding cultural imperialism.

      Don’t get me wrong, many of the writers on the voice aren’t like Rechtman and Corey. Dominiguez, Fadulu, Raskin, Randolf and others are doing a fine job picking up the slack.

      However, the others have a significant deficit, that is, they speak far more than they listen. This is the reason that the ACVoice is the first group parodied by the Muck-Rake, the first group identified as being over PC.

      This is why the ACVoice is quickly losing not only campus credibility, but importance.

      • Ethan Corey
        March 5, 2014

        Did the Cuban Revolution article really come across that way? That was far from my intention; I feel like the point was a self-critique actually pretty similar to what you’re arguing here. I wrote: “a commitment to social justice and feminism alone couldn’t save me from perpetuating the very systems of oppression I oppose. In fact, they had stymied my efforts by paralyzing me in a solipsistic ethical deadlock—I had become more concerned with the impossible task of living up to my ideals than actually working to make the world a better place.”

        The sentence you quote was meant as self-parody, meant to reveal the insufficiency of the PC attitudes that you’re attacking. I don’t want to side track this discussion too much with a discussion about another article (feel free to comment with your feelings there), but I take your critiques seriously; I just don’t think they’re warranted in the case of the above article.

      • Danica Richards
        March 5, 2014

        I think this is a great comment, Anon. I had been struggling to find the right words to describe how offensive some aspects of this site have become. Liya’s article was particularly uncomfortable for all the reasons you listed here.

        I can’t be as eloquent as you at the moment, Anon, but I will say that I am disturbed by this apparent hierarchy of activism (which, again, reared its head when the article inaccurately defined the BSU, and then immediately wrote off their response…because someone who is not an active member, and is not affected by that particular incident gets to decide how those who ARE affected respond, right? Thanks for being there to micro-manage how I, or another activist organization should feel about racism. Why did AC Voice even write a response to the BSU?).

        This hierarchy is absolutely trending towards cultural (and racial?) imperialism. I’ve said before, and I’ll say again that there are many community issues here at Amherst that desperately need attention. But at times, it certainly seems like only the issues certain writers deem important are given that attention, while at the same time other issues seem purposefully excluded. Or, in the case of the BSU incident, AC Voice decides to “school” another organization on what “activism” looks like.

        As you point out though, there are a ton of great writers here still. There are even articles by the aforementioned writers that I like quite a lot. But, I feel the tone of AC Voice has changed, and not for the better. It seems less like a platform for listening, as the OP here suggests, and more about maintaining some weird monopoly over the definitions of “activism”, “privilege” and a host of other textbook sociology buzz words. I think if AC Voice was not aware of this gradual shift, I hope they can be now, and maybe reign that back in.

      • William
        March 5, 2014

        I also agree with you that Liya’s article was offensive for its lack of any genuine effort to understand the issue from the point of view of African Americans, for whom she instead asserts the authority to speak.

        I would disagree with your claim that Ethan preemptively “labels Cuban society as misogynistic.” On the contrary, I think Ethan’s article represents a more genuine and more respectively non-assuming attempt understand the point of view of a different social identity.

      • katy perry's sister, jennifer perry
        March 5, 2014

        Ethan’s Cuba article was totally reasonable. Don’t shit on it just because he’s not Cuban. The sentence you pulled out isn’t even damning. You are just trying to create a trend of “racist ac voice writers omg” when we all know that it’s a total stretch. but whatever, I’m a toilet.

      • Anonymous
        March 5, 2014

        Yet you manage to do the same thing you accuse ac voice of. Activism is not a zero sum game. Because there is a feminist issue does not take away from the fact that there is a racism issue as well. Terrible cop out comment

    • Anonymous
      March 5, 2014

      ^you just did a better job articulating my feelings than I could have myself. Well said.

    • Ethan Corey
      March 5, 2014

      I’m sorry, but this comment took some real guts to write (under the pompous, yet still anonymous, name of “Truth.”), because it is remarkably stupid.

      Someone writes an article pointing out a problem (yes it’s minor, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a problem) and offering a simple and straightforward solution, and your response to it is “people are literally freezing to death,” coupled with you making a big show of being offended on behalf of homeless people and calling the author childish. That’s like screaming about the AIDS crisis when you hear someone mention that they’re sick or ranting about global warming just because you heard someone complain about the cold weather.

      Yes, the gender disparity in bathrooms at an elite liberal arts college is the epitome of a “first world problem,” but to leap from that to lobbing personal attacks against the author of the article and the website on which it was published is just plain absurd. I mean, by definition, any problem at Amherst College is a first world problem, but that doesn’t mean we should uncritically accept them and just marvel at how lucky we are to be at such a great institution. Get a grip.

      • The Whole Truth.
        March 5, 2014

        This article (and indeed, your reply) are symptoms of a larger problem here at Amherst. Had you tried thinking a bit more critically, you might have realized that my comment wasn’t trying to show my being “offended on behalf of homeless people” — pretty sure I explicitly said that — but rather to illustrate my disillusionment with a large proportion of the stories contributed to this site. As both your reply and your “FratGate” article published not too long ago so aptly demonstrate, AC Voice is not in the business of facilitating a “thoughtful”, “intellectual” or “feminist” discourse: it’s a platform utilized by a small group of students who — under the guise of engaging in “activism” — cry “privilege” when it suits their personal narrative but who are conspicuously silent when confronted with the same accusation. Your dismissal of the Problems (capital “p”) faced by the people in this town to me simply being “absurd”, I think, captures this point quite nicely. Contrary to what you may think, a significant portion of this campus would probably agree that if anything deserves to be characterized as a “big show” it’s this website — its actors being you and other contributors who have fooled themselves into believing that their motives are altruistic, and not self-promoting and transparent. Do I think we should “uncritically accept” first-world-problems? No. But maybe — just maybe — it makes sense to call into question our priorities once in a while on a forum that claims to be dedicated to “pushing intellectual boundaries”.

      • Ethan Corey
        March 5, 2014

        FratGate, lol, I like that. But for real though, tarring AC Voice as a whole (and this article in particular) based on your problems with my supposedly opportunistic use of the discourse of privilege seems a little silly. It seems like you have a preconception of what AC Voice is–“privileged children pontificating to other privileged children”–through which you read everything published on this site, rather than actually reading the articles published in their own light. Neither this article nor my “FratGate” piece used the word “privilege” once; both raised problems related to gender politics on campus, which are of course minor compared to people freezing to death on a systematic basis, but neither did so at the expense of talking about the very real problems faced by people in this town and around the world.

        Could AC Voice do better at addressing some of the myriad problems facing the world today? Of course. I think the example you used in this comment of homeless people in town would make a fantastic article–if you emailed us, I’m sure you could write a guest post on the subject–but just because we haven’t written about that particular issue doesn’t mean that we won’t or that we don’t care about it.

        My response to your previous comment was probably a tad rash, but I still think it’s silly to attack an article because it talks about a problem that you think is minor relative to the Big Problems ™ facing the world today.

  10. Zalo
    March 5, 2014

    ‘Gender neutral’ restrooms are a step toward systematic equality.

    Remember how America once had race-separated restrooms?

    ‘Gender separation’ is no less discriminatory. I can perfectly see a HUMAN restroom with many stalls, urinals, and sinks, all in one; all humans excrete the same feces and urine, even if the process and social constructs are distinct.

    ———————————————————–

    Other LACs, like Wesleyan, have already done this with many of their restrooms.

  11. Zalo
    March 5, 2014

    That said, I would love it even more if these human restrooms also used compost toilets, low-flow shower heads, low-flow faucets, and solar powered low-electricity LED lights. Oh, and they were used by environmentally conscious, resource conserving people.

    Yeah, that’s the stuff.

  12. Anonymous
    March 5, 2014

    have you ever been to the unisex bathroom in the computer lab/floor of seeley mudd; because there’s always a residue of fucking urine on the toilet seat cover; and if that doesnt say anything about the fucking ineptitude of students, I dont know what does. Why the fuck can’t you dumbasses aim? You are all nasty as fuck.

    • Dear angry about pee
      March 10, 2014

      You, sir/madam/etc, are excellent. I don’t know why, but I laughed so hard when I read this.

  13. Anonymous
    March 5, 2014

    this article, like the rest of this site, is comical

  14. JF
    March 5, 2014

    I was ready to disagree with you—as were the commenters before me (I guess I thought it was gonna be one of those “renovate!!!” pieces)—but since I read your whole article (which they probably didn’t do) I think your proposed solution is great. The disparity is a huge problem that most men (including me) are unaware of, but I’ve wanted gender-neutral bathrooms ever since I experienced them at Hampshire my freshman year. (Also Marsh.) It feels liberating to break down the gender barrier.

    Let’s not make this an empty idea and actually act on it!

  15. Anonymous
    March 5, 2014

    In the same vein, I see a lot of inequality in the men’s and women’s bathrooms in Frost especially when I want to take a big dump. Whereas the women’s bathroom has three stalls on Frost A-level, the men’s bathroom has a measly two. This poses a headache and gives us guys sleepless nights especially during our frequent bouts of diarrhea and constipation.Lol

    On a more serious note, although the author makes some good points this shouldn’t be a high priority problem for Amherst; this shouldn’t even make the list. This is a problem you can solve by yourself. You can slip into one of the dorms nearby and pee before every class. If you drink too much water, drink a little less (don’t worry you won’t die). If the first two fail, go see the doctor, you may have bladder issues.

    Amherst College kids must learn to be proactive and solve problems themselves instead of writing articles to start a movement for every minor issue. It’s a good skill to have, especially in the real world. (Amherst College is far from the real world).

    • Anonymous
      March 5, 2014

      “This is a problem you can solve by yourself. You can slip into one of the dorms nearby and pee before every class. If you drink too much water, drink a little less (don’t worry you won’t die). If the first two fail, go see the doctor, you may have bladder issues.”

      Let first time an actionable solution has ever been posed on AC voice

  16. Anonymous
    March 5, 2014

    I want to hear Gina’s response to the criticism. Please deliver!

    • Gina Faldetta
      March 5, 2014

      Happy to oblige. As a general response to all of the above “criticism,” I have these few things to say:
      1. I am reluctant to engage with many of these comments because, the way I see it, if you read that there are more than twice as many facilities for men to use as women in academic buildings intended to be shared by equal numbers of men and women, and you read a practical suggested solution to this, and you feel the need to actively comment to dismiss the entire piece of work, it’s probably just because you hate women. Seriously. Or you’re just that comfortable with the status quo and enjoying the privileges afforded to you by your extra-spacious bathrooms, which is pretty similar in that you clearly don’t care about women or gender equality. So I see no need to try to force you to care about this. Keep spitting vitriol, I’m sure that makes your life happy and fulfilled.
      2. To the point that this is “comical,” trivial, and distracts from the real issues of more significance, I implore you to get some perspective here. NOT to appropriate the racial oppression historically and currently experienced by black Americans, but there is a very similar line of logic that one can draw here. It’s easy, from a position of privilege, to view such an issue as bathrooms on campus as trivial, but I’d like to think that commenters here would not also say that “the extra twenty steps and extra thirty seconds” it takes to get to the back of the bus is not a big deal and should not be complained about. Get some perspective; institutionalized inequalities matter, at every level.
      3. Oh, and on the topic of perspective, for all of those saying that this is comical and a parody, thanks for completely missing the point. My reasoning when I came up with the idea for this article was that it would be great to write about because it is kind of silly and fun but also tackles a real issue at the same time. It doesn’t really reflect on me if you don’t get it.
      4. As for discussing privilege, thanks to everyone who brought it up in the comments. I did not mention how this relates to male privilege once in the article, but many commenters clearly picked up on how this IS a good example of institutionalized male privilege… only to turn around and complain that I am discussing it. Keep on fighting that struggle between your own intellectualism and simultaneous desire to reject social justice.
      5. The most important point I have to make here in a reply to the comments is that for everyone who has complained that this article distracts from the real issues, undermines any and all social justice activism, and adds to the plight of the Amherst region’s homeless population – my writing this article, or any article, does NOT preclude anyone else from doing any of the things that you are apparently complaining that my article does not do. It does not preclude people from writing better articles, or articles of more consequence, or volunteering at shelters. If you are frustrated because my voice is one of the louder voices of social justice activism on campus and you think that it is inadequate, that is your responsibility to fix, if you really do care. Instead of writing a purely negative comment about how this one article is the perfect example of what is wrong with our school’s culture, why don’t you write an article that will improve the culture you are complaining about?

      • Anonymous
        March 5, 2014

        Because, according to you, that article will be coming from someone with “privilege.” How can anyone write an article about what is obviously wrong with this school’s culture if people like you will only view it as the privileged putting down those without it. How dare you assume that if we do not agree with the point you are trying to make in your article, it must mean we hate women? Though I think your article makes some unfair assumptions, I personally believe that the bathrooms at this school should become gender neutral, so I was not planning to leave comment because at least I agreed with one of the points you were trying to make. However, when I saw how you decided to respond to the critics of your work, I was disgusted by your immature response. Going to a school like Amherst means that we should all be intelligent and tolerant enough to respect everyone’s opinions. There are people out there who do not share many of my beliefs and opinions, but going to an elite liberal arts school does not give me the right to belittle them regardless of how wrong they may be. What you have done here, by insulting your critics so directly, has destroyed any chance you may have had to convince them to look at the situation differently and to take you seriously as a writer. You cannot hope to forward the equal rights movement if you so easily lash out at those who disagree with you.

      • Anonymous
        March 5, 2014

        “…but I’d like to think that commenters here would not also say that ‘the extra twenty steps and extra thirty seconds’ it takes to get to the back of the bus is not a big deal and should not be complained about. Get some perspective…” Perhaps you should get some perspective and think critically about comparing this extra walk/wait with systematic, deliberate racism. It is preposterous to claim that Amherst is guilty of systematic and deliberate sexism or enforcement of male privilege through bathroom design.

        This is not Montgomery, you’re not Rosa Parks. This is, as you would realize if you didn’t quote that commenter out of context, a trivial complaint about the disparate impacts of poor architecture in old buildings.

      • And Nothing but the Truth.
        March 6, 2014

        As I expected, when faced with criticism you’re completely unwilling to even consider the possibility that maybe there’s a hint of truth to it. This is pretty typical of a lot of authors who publish for AC Voice: you convince yourself while you’re writing that you’re doing it in the name of “fostering dialogue”, when in reality what it really comes down to is the construction of a 1-man soap box. Please don’t expect your readers to take seriously an article predicated on critique if you aren’t willing to consider criticism yourself. That said, I’m going to try to keep this relatively short as it’s become increasingly apparent that any effort I or anyone tries to get through to you will probably end up proving futile.

        I’ll start with your “most important point” since it’s probably the most deluded. If you actually read my comment (and judging by your assessment, I’m beginning to doubt you have), it would become clear that my purpose in writing wasn’t to claim that your article “undermines social justice activism” or serves to preclude it. I don’t think it “adds” to anyone’s plight, per say, and as it turns out, I’m not particularly frustrated by the volume of your “voice of social justice activism.” Why you ask? The answer’s quite simple: because you’re NOT an activist. On the contrary, the point of my comment was that this self-assigned label you and some other AC Voice contributors seem to love bestowing on yourselves is offensive – not only to those who are suffering from more pressing problems outside the comfortable bubble in which you find yourselves, but to those whose definition of “activism” goes a little farther than taking pictures of bathrooms in their free time.

        This brings me to another one of your points: my “lack of perspective” as evidenced by my (and others’) thinking that your article was “comical.” If I could, I’d actually like to retract that characterization and replace it with “appalling”: the fact that you’re delusional enough to compare your limited bathroom options to the sanctioned separation of people according to their skin color is, I think, probably just enough for me to unequivocally conclude that you literally have no idea what the f*** you’re talking about. The fact that you feel comfortable calling other people out for their “lack of perspective” when you can’t even defend your writing without using a comment like this serves to underscore your own lack of perspective. I’m actually pretty surprised that your AC Voice colleagues haven’t retracted your “activist badge” by now and given it Liya (I’m just going to assume they go to her whenever one of you falls out of line). In case another commenter hasn’t made this clear to you yet, you’re not Rosa Parks. Let me just repeat that in case you’re confused: you’re… you’re not Rosa Parks. You’re a student at an elite college whose “activism” stretches about as far as she’s willing to walk to take a shit – so like, 2 flights of stairs. The magnitude of the plight you suffer and the label you assign yourself seem to share one common characteristic: they’re inflated.

    • Anonymous
      March 5, 2014

      Thanks for the response !(This is from the Anonymous who wrote the original comment, not the one who wrote the wall of text below)

  17. I'm Walking Here !
    March 5, 2014

    I think a lot of posters are missing the point . This article is obviously a parody. That it delivers its hilarious payload so brilliantly in the guise of a “thoughtful” piece of investigative journalism ( with the now farcially obligatory anti-intellectual , pro-identity political construct) is Swiftian satire of the highest order. Bravo Miss Faldetto.
    Looking forward so eagerly to its companion piece : ” Let Us All Sit Down To Pee!”

  18. Nik
    March 5, 2014

    I’m waiting for The Muse to deus ex machina us out of this situation.

  19. Anonymous
    March 5, 2014

    “It doesn’t really reflect on me if you don’t get it.”

    Nice job trying to have your cake and eat it too.

    By the way, try using the third floor bathroom its showers in Garman for a week, and I’m sure you’ll change your mind about wanting those gender neutral bathrooms. That is unless you like a bunch of guys cavalierly parading around (in a pathologically exhibitionist way) their penises all the time. I’m sure that wouldn’t bother you, but many girls here would disagree…probably more than two.

    • Gina Faldetta
      March 5, 2014

      I have been using a gender-neutral bathroom in my residence all year and it has been fine. Nice job trying to have your ignorance and parade it around in a pathologically exhibitionist way too.

      • Anonymous
        March 5, 2014

        You missed the point. Unless your bathroom is like Garman’s penis showcase, then you’re comparing apples and oranges. However, if it is like Garman, then your view is just myopic beyond excuse.

  20. George Tepe '14
    March 5, 2014

    This comment section is hilarious. I quickly scanned this article this morning, but now I have come back to it four more times just to read the craziness of the comment section.

    To the anonymous commentators, what are you so upset about with this article?

    Are you upset that you wasted your time reading an article that you thought was stupid and then wasted time formulating a comment? Then don’t read AC Voice articles.

    Are you upset because other people at Amherst could read this article? Surely you are not suggesting that our community controls what other people choose to read.

    Are you upset that Gina chose to spend her time taking pictures of bathrooms and then wrote an entire article about issues that she believed she identified? Again, you aren’t trying to suggest that we as a community control (whether through social/cultural pressure or otherwise) what students choose to do in their free time. And if you think this article was pointless, she was the one choosing to spend her time taking pictures of bathrooms.

    Or are you upset that this article, like other articles, argue for a different set of community priorities that you disagree with? Maybe you believe that because of this and other AC Voice articles the college will focus on unimportant “issues” and therefore would shift resources and attention away from more pressing issues. Ok, then write about those other issues! Convince me that your issue is more important than this and make criticism of the arguments stated within the article. Clearly there is no cap to the quantity of speech created at Amherst or in the world.

    What is stopping more people from attaching their name to an article or comment about what they believe is important? Are you afraid that as a _______ student (insert any identity here) arguing for ______ that other students may disparage you or make personal attacks against your act of speaking? Well if your anonymous comment has shown me anything, then yes you are probably right. The equilibrium state encouraged by anonymous comments with ad homonym attacks is silence. The more animosity directed at individual students, the more courage is required to speak up on our campus. Our country, culture and community is nominally built on free speech. But I fear that the response to this article shows that we continue to live in a culture that encourages and believes in silence.

    • I'm scared of using
      March 5, 2014

      Case closed folks. George has hit the nail on the head. Everyone needs to chill out. Don’t demand thoroughness and thoughtfulness in articles through shitty flame comments. Write about it! Submit something to The Student or The Indicator or ACVoice. Don’t hide behind anonymity and take pot shots at a staff of your peers. These are people who – if you look through these articles – come from all different walks of life and are writing about a broad range of topics. You don’t have to agree with them, but don’t spew hate. It’s time to be constructive, not destructive.

      And to those of you complaining about other articles on this site – take those comments to those articles. People reading those pieces aren’t always gonna see the criticisms you posted under a totally different article. If you think your criticism is valid, then put it where it is most relevant.

      ACVoice is not the unified radical one-note behemoth that you may read it as. And I think even a cursory glance through the front pages will convince you of that. You are hand picking
      articles to draw broad conclusions. But look at the most recent pieces;

      -coping with fear of flying
      -planning study abroad
      -think about olympics
      -administrative policy critique
      -an ungodly long fiction piece
      -worries about genetic alcoholism
      -club politics discussion

      This site isn’t just some unified bastion of snobby privilege. Disagreeing with three articles doesn’t mean you can anonymously and rather rudely write off the work of everyone else.

      • Seewai Hui
        March 6, 2014

        Finally people with some reason. I just wanted to add that I think it’s ridiculous that people are calling this the “dumbest article [they've] ever read.” Seriously? I know everyone here has read at least one article on Buzzfeed. And if you’re referring to only campus publications, then how about that article about winter jackets in the student last week? It’s just an opinion article, people. No one is forcing you to agree with her so there’s really no need to attack her just because you disagree. And at least she’s taking ownership of her ideas. If you think her article is unproductive, then why are you leaving equally unproductive anonymous comments?

  21. blin12
    March 5, 2014

    I wonder if the level of discourse could be improved if everyone would recognize that you can be right without also being self-righteous.

  22. Anonymous
    March 5, 2014

    I just think that we should think about this issue from the perspective of the bathrooms

  23. Sally Marx
    March 5, 2014

    DISCLAIMER: I have 100% checked my privilege prior to submitting this comment.

    It is extremely problematic that the “bathroom situation” has been used as an argument for gender inequality on campus.

    The fact remains—a great majority of us do not feel comfortable using bathroom facilities in the presence of the opposite sex; whether this is driven by societal pressures isn’t the question here. It’s just a fact. Unfortunately and fortunately, as is the case in all aspects of life, the majority rules. That being said, I will emphasize that I do think there would be a benefit in providing gender neutral bathrooms around campus for those that have vocalized discomfort in the current bathroom situation.

    However, the fact remains, there are gender differences. I’m all for the stance of breaking down the gender boundaries in other settings, but bathrooms are a place where biological differences are very much exercised. Therefore, at the risk of offending you, Gina, your statement that we are “[performing] the same bodily functions” is not actually 100% accurate. As women, there are things that we need to take care of in the bathroom (on a monthly basis, if you know what I mean.)

    I for one, whether people agree or not, would prefer for the administration to invest their time and money in other endeavors. Yes, of course, there are times when waiting in line for the bathroom is a pain in the neck and maybe I am being forced to wait because there are less stalls in the women’s rooms; I just really believe that if that is the most significant problem of my day, then I’d say it’s been a good one!

    Ultimately, the fact alone that we are taking so much time to discuss the “bathroom situation” shows how privileged and self-consumed our little bubble can be.

    Our generation, driven by progressiveness, has become so self-deprecating that we have managed to find examples of marginalization in everything, even when they don’t actually exist. We all do it. If we really want to “check our privilege”, let’s force ourselves to consider the “bathroom situation” in the grand scheme of things. When we do that, we are forced to see that others’ experiences of marginalization are a little more substantial and maybe we should be spending our time making an effort on their behalf rather than our own.

    No clearer is this than in the case of this article, which briefly touched on the plight of the transgender experience with the intent of pursuing a personal goal. Had there been a real concern for bettering the experience of the transgender population at this school, there would have been more than a measly paragraph dedicated to their marginalization. Let’s be honest though, this article was not an attempt to help others who actually have something to complain about; instead, touching on the transgender experience was an attempt to create and drive home an argument surrounding discrimination against women. Therefore, to seemingly equate the transgender experience in bathrooms to us poor women who have to wait longer to pee is both insensitive and selfish.

    I’m sure this was not your intent. We all just need to be more careful about when we play the victim card.

    So to wrap it up– yes, let’s pursue the implementation of gender neutral bathrooms (on top of the preexisting gender segregated ones.) HOWEVER, not on account of gender inequality toward women.

  24. Anonymous
    March 5, 2014

    You hate poor people

  25. Anonymous
    March 6, 2014

    This is brutal, just absolutely painful. When you graduate (hopefully) this Amherst bubble and can’t write an article every time God made it too cold outside it should be a rude awakening. Everyone’s a victim.

  26. Anonymous
    March 6, 2014

    “if you read that there are more than twice as many facilities for men to use as women in academic buildings intended to be shared by equal numbers of men and women, and you read a practical suggested solution to this, and you feel the need to actively comment to dismiss the entire piece of work, it’s probably just because you hate women.”

    I am a woman. Yeah, you’re totally right. I hate myself and my entire gender because I think that this article is absolutely asinine.

    Don’t expect to write something like this and not get criticism. Also, don’t think that this criticism is only coming from the male gender. If you took a poll, I’m sure that more than half of the women really wouldn’t give a shit that they have to wait an extra 2 minutes to go to the bathroom, and far more than that would not be so inclined to “do their business” in a stall next to a guy that they don’t (or worse, do) know.

  27. Anonymous
    March 6, 2014

    Do you want to actually make a difference in gender equity? Fight the administration on gender ratios. What is more backward than that? What is more binary than that? Rather than fight a minor inconvenience that forces you to walk 30 extra steps, fight something that matters. I hope you respond to this post gina

    • Anonymous
      March 6, 2014

      I agree with you: gender disparity in bathrooms is not the most pressing issue we face on the Amherst college campus. However, I find the fact that you have the nerve to post an anonymous comment chastising Gina for failing to “fight something that matters” galling. As a “campus activist” Gina isn’t required to constantly tackle the Big Issues – by her own account sometimes she wants to write about something “kind of silly or fun.”

      If you don’t agree that Amherst College has a bathroom problem, fine, cool, live your life, follow your dreams. I personally wouldn’t go so far as to say that you hate women, but I happen to disagree with you: I’ve never experience this as an issue but I think that Gina makes a good case for some minor renovations. Good, this is dialog. However, in suggesting that she is somehow misallocating her activism you show a lack of respect. By simply asserting the authority to demarcate issues “that matter” you dismiss her well researched depiction of a perceived campus sexism as a “minor inconvenience” without articulating any engagement with the points she makes.

      Anon, if you care about the gender ratios, write your own d**n article. If you’re going to critique Gina’s article, please do so on its own terms.

      • Anonymous
        March 10, 2014

        “dialog” is spelled “dialogue”

  28. Heisenberg
    March 6, 2014

    I completely agree that seperating bathrooms based on gender is analogous to racial segregation. Continuing on this concept, we should further fight against gender discrimination by no longer segregating our sports teams by gender. Let’s continue the fight that Jackie Robinson started.

    • reductio ad absurdum expecto patronum.
      March 6, 2014
  29. Zalo
    March 6, 2014

    Why are so many people stating that this doesn’t matter at all?

    Yes, it might not be as impactful as ‘male-female’ student ratio, but it is still an occurrence of ‘gender’ inequity.

    Going back to environmentalism, changing something like the ‘male-female’ ratio is like changing the entire town population of Amherst College to transport themselves on bicycles, while changing the bathroom structure is like switching all Amherst incandescent bulbs to fluorescent bulbs.

    —————————————————————-

    Change is change, whether perceived as large or small.

    —————————————————————-

    (Interestingly, perhaps the bathroom differences relate with the history of Amherst College. It was a men’s college for far longer than a co-ed college; the inequity in bathroom structure might be an architectural improvisation more than a gender oppression system.)

  30. Jesse Pinkman
    March 6, 2014

    I agree with Heisenberg. His blue meth is pretty dope.

  31. Anonymous
    March 6, 2014

    **BREAKING NEWS**

    Just used the Converse women’s bathroom at approximately 12:58 p.m. and escaped unscathed. Made it to my 1pm 30 seconds early!!

  32. Anon
    March 6, 2014

    I really think we should get back to the larger issue that Anonymous pointed out earlier i.e. the “big dump” problem guys face on Frost A-level. I have also been victimized by the rampant gender inequality males face as a result of BDs, not only on A-level, but in the first floor bathroom as well.

  33. Laughable
    March 6, 2014

    Laughable

  34. Thank God
    March 6, 2014

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who is fed up with these looneys. Can’t wait to see how far investigative journalism will take these people in the real world, where referencing Foucault and Virginia Woolf gets you no where.

    • Craig Campbell
      March 7, 2014

      But you’d take all the fun out of going to a liberal arts college if we couldn’t reference Foucault in our publications! That’s what the time we take to get a liberal arts education is for, is it not? I don’t think we’ve ever pretended to be a reflection of the “real world.”

  35. Shirui Chen
    March 7, 2014

    I know someone else mentioned this, but just FYI, if you consider both 1st floor Merrill and 1st floor McGuire, there’s actually 2 men’s and 2 women’s rooms. The women’s room, being in McGuire right around the corner from the men’s room in Merrill, is actually quite a lot nicer than the dark, homely (but lovable) ones in Merrill (so I hear).

  36. Alum
    March 7, 2014

    This article seems reasonable, even when taking into account the McGuire bathroom, until you consider the practicability of solving the bathroom inequity. It’s comical to suggest Amherst should spend thousands of dollars on remedying this minor issue, when it could poor that into other programs, such as financial aid, or sexual assault awareness programming, or even women’s athletics.

    Gender-neutral bathrooms are not a solution, as the vast majority of women would not want them. So what is? Building more equitable bathrooms in newer buildings? Well, they’ve already done that if you look at buildings built in the last 20 years. I don’t get the point of this article, other than to propose an obviously unfeasible solution and call out people for their privilege.

    • Ethan Corey
      March 7, 2014

      Did you read the article? Gina wasn’t suggesting spending thousands of dollars to remedy this minor issue. She merely suggested that Amherst make the minimal effort it takes to make more bathrooms gender-neutral to improve accessibility. Even if, as you claim without a shred of evidence, the majority of women would not want them, the College could change some men’s rooms into women’s rooms. The point of this article is that the bathroom issue is a stupid and easily solvable inequity, and the fact that the reaction to such a suggestion is so strong is largely a manifestation of privilege.

  37. I'm Walking Here"
    March 7, 2014

    This article is sophomoric in its execution and certainly could have benefitted from some sensible editorial tutelage . But the subject matter (the writer’s opinion that there exist bathroom access inequities faced by women AND that the college can best resolve these inequities by assigning more bathrooms to “gender neutral” status) is a topic that IMO deserves consideration and respect . Here’s the rub! That is NOT the author’s mission. Her opinion piece is a poorly crafted screed intended to distill matters of architecture, geography , bladder capacities and toiletry into yet another dishonest and self serving stew of contempt of the “male” gender. The author ( as well as her complicit editor ) cast their straw man (pun intended) as the bogeyman ( no pun intended) in a never ending play of male privilege . Waiting for Godot, indeed! Not unexpected …nor (and this is the strange twist ) ordinarily worthy of the storm of replies engendered by such a predictably solopistic argument. But this article (and the several reply comments that further distort the activist ideals that are so poorly served by obedience to identity) WAS different. Different (and ultimately canabilized ) by the degree of its absurd actuaization of toilet bigotry as akin to human atrocities of vast evil . Those who have followed the rise and fall of charlatans , and their sibling cults and cultists of identity know that there DO exist limits and, therefore , rejection of
    ideas that sound of doctrine … of propaganda . And this article has indeed crossed over to that netherworld of imagination and paranoia . Simply, Gina has ” jumped the shark” and I’m not sure how anything she writes again can be read with credibilty or even intellectual respect by any persons outside her fellow acolytes of victimilogy. And what’s the point of continually preaching to the adoring choir? Gina
    has undermined serious considerations of matters of genuine concern involving gender bias , sexism , racism and consequences ( unintended in many instances) arising from of our collective neglect of these issues .
    To think an essay about piss pots and penises could accomplish such a deconstruction is the saddest of unintended consequences . But the death knell of zealotry has sounded . May it be replaced by the thoughtful and genuine beat and heat of true activism.

  38. Gustavo Fring
    March 7, 2014

    Heisenberg and Jesse Pinkman are spot on! This whole conflict is making me really blue, and it’s time we really get this conversation “cooking.”

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  40. Seriously...
    March 12, 2014

    I cannot wait until you graduate from college and all of your coworkers/fellow grad-students make fun of you for both the substance/rhetoric used in this article

  41. five college traveller
    March 14, 2014

    Hampshire — and Hampshire students — are light-years ahead on this issue.

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This entry was posted on March 4, 2014 by in Amherst College Losses, Gender, Queer, Uncategorized and tagged , .
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