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Worst Week Ever

Adriana Pratt | Thursday, March 1, 2012

When you’ve got to go, you’ve to go. No time for meandering, no time for chitter chatter. Doing your business means business.

In few places is this urge more compounded or frustrating than at Finny’s, where the line to the girls’ restroom snakes the length of the pong table, all the way to the dance floor. Many a Notre Dame lady has whined about the line for the “loo,” and a few brave souls have even attempted to dash into the boys’ room for relief.

But as bad as we think we have it, we’re far better off than women in China, who launched an “Occupy Men’s Toilets” protest a little over a week ago. Chinese women, you’re having the worst week ever.

In China, the national standards call for a one-to-one ratio of men’s to women’s public street toilets in cities, according to The New York Times.

Women, who as we all know typically take a longer time in the bathroom, use it more frequently and also often travel in clusters, have an issue with this. United Press International reported last week that a few women in the southern Chinese city Guangzhou got fed up with the wait and took charge.

They gathered outside a men’s public restroom holding a banner that said “more convenience for women, more gender equality,” and alternately occupied male stalls.

Overall, the protest went peacefully in Guangzhou, but women ready to occupy men’s toilets in other cities didn’t meet such a welcoming reception.

In Beijing, 10 officers and three police vehicles awaited their arrival, according to The New York Times. The same happened when the group tottered off to other toilets.

One of the protest leaders, a woman who went by the pseudonym Li Maizi, told NBC News that the government had responded to her efforts, but their decision to build 1.5 more female bathrooms than male wasn’t enough.

Fliers the protesters passed out called for at least twice as many, and also asked for more unisex bathrooms at places like malls and train stations.

As a fellow woman who has suffered through many a restroom line, I can attest that when it comes to ladies, the more bathrooms the merrier.

Chinese women are refusing to stand at the back of the bathroom line, determined to push forward an agenda for change.

The issue might seem trivial at first glance, but try telling that to someone on the verge of breaking public urination laws because they can’t find a restroom.

Tonight, I promise to do my part and stand in solidarity with my suffering sisters. As I wait in that long, laborious restroom line at Finny’s, the Chinese women will be in my thoughts. Protesters, you’re an inspiration to us all. Maybe, just maybe, we Notre Dame women will start an “Occupy” movement of our own.

Contact Adriana Pratt at apratt@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.