So, we had a lil incident last week that’s been rollin around in my mind/emotions/psyche for a few days. And part of the reason isn’t just because it was kinda ugly, but also because I really don’t understand. Really. I DON’T.
Long story short. we were at the Y, my kid had to go potty, I took him into the women’s locker room and was there accosted by an older woman who was “mortified” that my son might see her in her post menopausal glory. Which honestly *I* didn’t wanna see either, but that’s another story. She did not accept my gentle excuse that my son has autism and couldn’t manage the male locker room–WHERE HE HAS ACTUALLY NEVER BEEN–by himself. Also, he’s 6. SIX. As in JUST OUT OF KINDY. SIX. pre-pubescent. VERY pre-pubescent.
Amidst this brow beating, she mentioned she herself has an autistic son. And would I be ok with his 21 year old self coming in here? to which I replied “*I* don’t have a problem with it”
And here’s the thing. I really don’t. Nudity doesn’t bother me like it bothers others. I helped support myself through college sitting for art classes. YES–THAT KIND OF ART CLASS. Maybe I’m just a hippie, but all this nonsense about separate bathrooms where children are concerned seems so silly to me. Yeah–I understand the whole older man/teen girl or boy thing, and I won’t deny that there are some serious pervs out there in the world. But this was NOT that situation.
As a woman, I wouldn’t care if a boy from the ages of newborn to preteen saw my naked body if I changed at the gym. (which I don’t actually, not because of propriety but because that locker room is a little skanky to be honest. That, and I’m usually wrestling a 6 year old autistic boy who’s upset about leaving the pool, so I try to get out of there ASAP and do the whole shower and change thing at home) I’m also a firm believer that our obsessions with sexual segregation is part of our problem as a society. If boys and girls saw the natural human form, in all shapes and sizes, maybe they wouldn’t grow up with such strong body image problems? Just a thought.
But here’s another thing. This outrage seems selfish to me. Maybe because I was on the receiving end, but I still don’t understand. Why is it more acceptable to some that my son go into a male locker room ALONE rather than together in safety with me in the woman’s locker room? Why is some woman’s sense of virtue and propriety more important than a child’s safety? And I’m not just saying my kid. Any boy. Or any girl with her dad in the man’s locker room? You know where my kid gets to go to the bathroom alone? AT SCHOOL–because I know the school is 90% safer than some locker room in North Hollywood.
And before you shout “you’re just paranoid!” let me remind you of this story. A 9 year old boy goes into a men’s restroom in Oceanside while his aunt waits outside. And he was murdered by a crazy man. Oceanside aint’ far from here folks. Pardon me if I’m affected by both the proximity and the horror of that story.
So, my son will be accompanying me to any and all bathrooms–unless his father is with us, natch–until he is old enough to call for help, and/or be embarrassed by being in a woman’s bathroom. Or until more family bathrooms are available for use. And if any old bat is worried about the virtue of her sagging tetas, she might end up with an earful from me…