"Yes, ice machine" -- Hotel Employee on phone to Petra
Question #72803 posted on 06/06/2013 8:22 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My husband just enlightened me on the topic of men's shower rooms. I never realized that public men's showers typically do not have any sort of dividers or separators. Every public women's showers I've been to lately have had dividers so I'm baffled that in 2013 there are still so many men's shower rooms without them. He informed me that the BYU locker room, public pools, and many public fitness centers usually don't have dividers. And that 8 years ago when he was at the MTC they had just barely put dividers up for the first time. WOW. How can that still be possible? Especially at BYU? What about men with homosexual tendencies?

I feel this is extremely wrong and would like to know why no dividers have been put up - especially at BYU, and what needs to be done to get them up.

-Privacy Advocate

A:

Dear PA,

I just went to a Korean spa and this involves wandering around and talking to people while fully naked (it's split into separate gender areas).  I can tell you that people get comfortable with being naked, and I for one didn't feel scared that I would tempt some other lady.

There are privacy laws in place to keep people from taking photos in locker rooms, if that is also something you were worried about.  But if your biggest reason is, as you mentioned, people checking out other men in the showers, maybe this article can calm some of your worries.  I've included this quote from the article that I loved:

As a gay man, I can assure you that we’re probably less likely to look at your junk than your fellow straight guys. Rather than engage in the typical bro-to-bro bravado at the gym... I and the gay friends I've spoken to do our best to keep to ourselves... I've... come to see it as a means of showing respect for the comfort of others. I’m aware that even the most gay-friendly straight guy doesn't want to be ogled in the locker room—who does?—and do my best not to give off that impression.

And, just so I can nip in the bud any follow-up questions we might ask arguing that if gay guys can share a locker room with men, we should just have all-gender locker rooms, the same article says that our "current gender and power dynamics... [leave women] regularly victimized by men... sex-segregated changing facilities provide women a sanctuary from these pressures."

While we have been asked to respect our bodies and not openly flaunt them, it's important to keep in mind that this doesn't mean we hide our bodies from even our own selves.  Locker rooms and bathhouses are places meant for changing and washing our bodies in more privacy while keeping people safe.  While it may feel uncomfortable to you, it's not evil and it's not even wrong.

-Yog in Neverland

A:

Dear Advocate,

I think the best way to get a change made in the men's locker room policy is to be someone who uses a men's locker room.

-->Captain Obvious

A:

Dear Privacy,

You only offer one concrete reason (to avoid being looked at by homosexuals) for why privacy dividers should be implemented for men showers. That kind of implies that the one and only reason you think women showers have privacy dividers are for privacy against lesbians. Unless you are saying there are no other reasons why showering in privacy might be preferred, you should rephrase your argument into one that isn't primarily about being bashful or squeamish about a hypothetical homosexual gaze.

Don't kill me,

The Messenger