Anorak News | Unisex changing rooms are dangerous- Chesterton’s Fence again

Unisex changing rooms are dangerous- Chesterton’s Fence again

by | 3rd, September 2018

A new report shows that unisex changing rooms are dangerous. Or at least claims that they are. Which brings us to an important philosophical concept, Chesterton’s Fence. The point being that if we see something then, before we decide to sweep it away, we’ve got to work out why that thing as put there or done in the first place. Only once we’ve worked out that original motivation can we think on whether it is still needed or not:

Unisex changing rooms are more dangerous for women and girls than single-sex facilities, research by The Sunday Times shows. Almost 90% of reported sexual assaults, harassment and voyeurism in swimming pool and sports-centre changing rooms happen in unisex facilities, which make up less than half the total.

Gender-neutral changing is growing as councils seek to cut staff costs and cater to transgender people. But one MP said it risked becoming a “magnet” for sex offenders and increased the danger to women and girls.

GK Chesterton pointed out that if you’re out walking in the countryside an you see a fence, well, you might well think that it doesn’t need to be there, tear it down. This may or may not be an error. In order to work this out you’ve first got to consider why was it built in the first place? Only once you’ve done that can you then go on to think about whether that original reason still holds, still justifies it:

Just under 90 per cent of complaints regarding changing room sexual assaults, voyeurism and harassment are about incidents in unisex facilities.

Hey, maybe we care more about being gender neutral than we do about complaints of sexual assaults. Thus that original reason for the segregation – it being a reasonable enough assumption that it’s going to be men preying upon women – no longer holds.

The point being that whether or not we have gender neutral or segregated bathrooms is a decision we can and should take. But we do need to understand why they were originally set up segregated. Only once we’ve one that can we decide as to whether that reason still holds. No, I dunno either but there’s near no one recommending unisex who seems to have considered the point at all.

Posted: 3rd, September 2018 | In: News Comment | TrackBack | Permalink