Aesthetics of Authority —
Understanding Gendered Restrooms Guidelines in America
Fifty-one days before the "bathroom problem" was on our radar, I submitted an IRB request to, "understand the visual representations of authority in the context of gendered restrooms." My goal was to identify the behavioral, moral, and intellectual gaps in our social consciousness and conceptualize the social technology of gendered restrooms.
Two months into writing this, North Carolina law makers assaulted LGBTQ individuals by passing the Public Facilities & Privacies Act, more commonly known as House Bill 2. The entire world was now focused on the very research I was modeling and I immediately lost interest. I hate sensational shit because it completely derails constructive conversation.
After reading through the history of 'comfort stations,' deep-diving into Foucault's biopower, and theorizing on notions of social policing, I had a lot to say at the bar whenever HB2 came up. I don't like sensational research, or 'pop-social-science,' So I ditched the project - but here is a 16-page proposal.
That said, I argue that the discussion surrounding gendered restrooms is misguided. Driven by historical artifacts and cultural forecasts, I encourage a conversation and research model to better understand institutional authority as a whole. Starting at why we are segregating bathrooms in the first place.