Architecture and Title IX

 Feminism has gathered a pretty bad reputation with today’s media. But it’s important to understand that feminism is not a rallying cry for women trying to take over the world. It’s an attempt to bring gender equality. One such feminist triumph is Title IX. But does our school adhere to it?

 Title IX is a federal law prohibiting federally funded educational programs or activities to be discriminatory on the basis of gender. It’s often interpreted as a protection for female athletes in public schools. One big part of this is the equality in girls/boys facilities, like locker rooms. The old athletic building had some pretty clear violations of this. On a scale map, the boys’ locker room was nearly twice the size of the girls’. It had separate junior varsity and varsity sections as well, which the girls’ didn’t have. It’s also interesting to note that the locker rooms were on opposite sides of the building. There’s no problem with that, but on the girls’ side there were various storage rooms, laundry, and the Dance Studio. On the boys’ side were the training rooms and weight room. It’s a subtle reminder of who should do what, which is ridiculous.

   So it seems the issue is simple; units used by both genders are farther away from certain locker rooms, instead of in the center. Ideally, all major utilities, i.e. the weight room and dance studio, would be in the center, to not be subtly biased. Girls do use the weight room and boys should be able to use the Dance Studio. No sport is inherently exclusive. That’s where the new building comes in though, right?

   Wrong. The girls’ and boys’ locker rooms are about equal in size. But football has it’s own separate locker room set, about the size of the girls’ locker room, with freshman, junior varsity, and varsity sections. Dance also has its own locker room, although it’s one room and smaller than the football storage room alone. The weight room is also nestled right behind the football locker rooms, and girls have to cross the entire building to get there. At least the training rooms are equidistant from both locker rooms. The problem with these placements and size allocations is insubstantial. Aside from the fact that boys are given a lot more locker room than girls, it’s pushing gender stereotypes. Almost every sport, both genders, uses the weight room, so why is it tucked away with the guys? And the dance studio being close to the girls almost sends a message that boys should avoid dance, which is untrue. It seems that the dedicated dance and football areas are supposed to even out the genders. But that’s not how equality works. They don’t just cancel each other out, they enforce that boys go to football and girls go to dance. It seems like every other sport is just ignored, and focus is zoomed in to those two with “extra” lockers for everyone else.

About Emeline Lakrout

This is my third year of high school journalism, on newspaper. I also copy edit a monthly magazine called Texas Dogs and Cats.

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