|(Flickr: ~ Izee. . .in&out)|
Last year, Target announced it would stop categorizing toys by intended gender—a move that many conservatives protested, but that didn’t particularly ruffle my feathers. My one-year-old daughter currently favors “boy” toys—blocks, cars, and balls—and I’m fine with that. I’m also fine with her deciding she prefers princesses and tea parties later on.
But, now, Target has taken its secular pandering too far, announcing on Tuesday that transgender customers are allowed to use whichever bathroom fits their “gender identity.” Interesting, considering 60 percent of Target’s customers are women, and 62 percent have children. But these days, protecting the majority isn’t the trendy thing to do—even though, regardless of their ideology, I can guarantee 99.9 percent of the moms at Target wouldn’t love sending their little girl into a bathroom with a stranger of the opposite sex. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
As we’re all acutely aware, the bathroom issue extends well beyond the bullseye—we’re in the midst of a nationwide debate, in an out of the courtrooms, about, essentially, whether men belong in women’s bathrooms.
Of course, proponents of non-gendered bathrooms insist that unintended interlopers—men who aren’t living as women—wouldn’t dare take advantage of the policy and meander into women’s facilities. And to some extent, I agree: Men who don’t want to violate a woman also have no interest in violating her privacy.
So, yes, I think the majority of men will stay where they belong: in the men’s room.
But the unfortunate flip, I believe, is also true: Men who do want to violate a woman do have an interest in violating her privacy. And let’s face it: Men who intentionally enter women’s restrooms aren’t there for the tampon dispenser or scented soap. They’re there to commit crimes.
In 2015, for example, a man was arrested at an Indiana mall after hiding in a women’s bathroom stall and then attacking an unsuspecting woman. In a 2014 case, a man was charged with voyeurism after crawling into a women’s bathroom stall and grabbing a woman’s upper thigh; she ended up sitting on his hand on the toilet seat to protect herself. Just a few months ago, a Utah man was sentenced to at least five years in prison for following a woman into a restaurant bathroom and raping her.
And as you might expect, it’s not always adults who are the victims: In 2013, a Florida man brutally assaulted a 9-year-old girl in a Best Buy bathroom.
We live in a twisted era where the plastic, hourglass-shaped body of Barbie is demonized as a threat to little girls, while Target is applauded for sending grown men into the same bathrooms as our daughters. Let’s pick the right battles, moms.