In a male-dominated society, any gender-neutral space becomes a male-dominated space. The norms of our culture exist on both the large & the small scale. Wherever both sexes are present, the power dynamics we live every day will manifest. So we need some spaces to be single-sex.
One way cultural male dominace presents itself is in the form of excessive sexualization of women. Because most men are sexually oriented to women, a culture that prioritizes the male experience will exaggerate a woman’s sexual qualities because men find that enjoyable.
That’s why spaces where women undress, perform private biological functions, discuss sexual issues, or recv reproductive care are usually single-sex. Too many men who live in a culture that prioritizes their sexual pleasure over women’s private needs fail to respect the boundary.
“But you let lesbians in those spaces!”

Lesbians rarely sexualize women in such spaces. Their shared experiences with women allow them the empathy to understand better than men when sexualization’s not appropriate. They also lack the relative social power to oppress those women.
Social power can often be measured in terms of credibility & accountability (not one group being better or more deserving).

The reason straight people feel so safe in gay/lesbian spaces is because they hold more social power. If we cross a line with them, we’re likey to pay.
Women have historically been told not to be alone around men because, if they’re assaulted, it’s our word against theirs, and, historically, men have had the social power to be the ones who are believed.

This is why women usually don’t usually report sexual assault.
Of course, these are generalizations, not true in every case. But it’s social power that drives credibility/accountability, and that, along with their greater physical strength, is what makes allowing men into certain women’s spaces uncomfortable & dangerous.
If analyzing it this way doesn’t convince you, then I suggest you search for “buy hidden bathroom camera.”

Men sexualize women in bathrooms.
There are also hundreds of porn sites specifically for bathroom voyeurism. It’s become a problem even in single-occupancy restrooms that men can access.

My point is a bathroom isn’t supposed to be a sexualized space, but it becomes one due to the social dynamics of our culture.
Women deserve to have spaces where they aren’t sexualized. They shouldn’t need to be in fight-or-flight mode every time they use a public restroom or changing room.

And we deserve spaces where we aren’t downstream in social power. Without those spaces, feminism has no chance.
Most of the world is and should be mixed-sex. But both men and women deserve to have some spaces where these sexual and power dynamics don’t come into play. Women experience far greater safety issues, but men also experience discomfort when a space is inappropriately mixed-sex.
Most women live every day of their lives under the male gaze. We’re assessed by male strangers, partners, family members. It subtly influences everything we do.

We need to take breaks from that. And the fact that I have to defend our right to do so speaks volumes as to why.
P.S.: As much as I love how much assent there is to my statement that lesbians aren’t much of a risk factor to strange women in public places, I wanted to drop in & add that same-sex DV & sexual assault is a real problem, but usually occurs within relationships, not w strangers.
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