Masculinity comics 6

A fresh installment in this series on boys and (normative) masculinity, in this case illustrating Michael Kimmel’s first rule of the Boy Code and the Guy Code: that “[normative] masculinity is the relentless repudiation of the feminine” — in the One Big Happy comic of 9/19:

(#1) The ignominy of having to use the women’s room

Public restrooms in the U.S., especially large ones (in shopping malls, airports, and the like) can be daunting places for children, so it falls to caregivers to help them use the facilities, until they are large enough and experienced enough to cope on their own. Since caregivers for small children in our society are very predominantly women, it falls to women to do this work in most circumstances (family outings being one notable exception).

The consequence is that female caregivers will take a boy into women’s restrooms until the boy objects (as Joe does above) or she decides that he can go it alone (while, typically, she hovers fretfully outside the mensroom). Sites for mothers are packed with agonizing about the situation, and sites for parents in general are packed with complaints about how drastically unaccommodating public toilets are for children.

From the romper site — the site is a “brand” of the media complex BDG, a brand apparently devoted to pregnancy, raising kids, and women’s health — in “17 Things You’ll Find In A Public Restroom That’ll Scare The Crap Out Of Your Kid” by Candace Ganger on 6/11/18, which begins:

Public restrooms, bathrooms, powder rooms, lavatories, latrines, comfort stations: whatever you want to call them, they’re terrifying for children. While I can’t speak for the men’s restroom, I can say that more than a few women’s restrooms have scared the crap (pun intended) out of my kids.

Among many other things, nothing in these places is child-sized, nor are there are simple aids for smaller bodies, like step-stools. (There’s a sweet video in which an exasperated father tries valiantly to allow his 3-year-old to demonstrate his mastery of peeing standing up into an adult-sized toilet, at one point holding the boy over the toilet (awkward for both parties) — until he hits on the solution of having the boy stand on his shoes.)

So things stood when I was a small child, and in fact when I had a small child (a girl, to complicate matters further), but more recently there are public family bathrooms, with child-accommodating toilets, urinals, and sinks, as here:

(#2) (illustration from the romper site)

3 Responses to “Masculinity comics 6”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    In many men’s rooms there is one urinal that is lower than the rest, presumably for the use of small people such as children, but they’re still not low enough for most subteen children.

    P.S. I like Ruthie’s reformulation, even though I don’t believe it’s something that a child her age would actually come up with (which, I must confess, is my reaction to many of the OBH strips).

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