A typical home is made up of categories:
– lounge room
– outdoor space
Each category defines the space it embodies, by what belongs there and what it excludes. We effectively compartmentalize our experiences.
An oven would not be found in the bathroom or a bedroom, just like a toilet wouldn’t be found in the lounge room. Naturally it stands to reason that the chemicals used to clean an oven are different to the chemicals that clean a toilet. We only cook food in one and shit in the other. Hence the kitchen cleaning materials must be kept apart from the bathroom cleaning materials, much like the Montagues and Capulets!
This separating of spaces, furniture, appliances, items and materials, places boundaries around and in the home, keeping everything in its place. In the midst of this separating, the zones of domesticity gather gendered attributes like flies to honey. A bedroom has the gender of the owner: girl’s room, boy’s room, parent’s room. Study: the traditional mancave. Kitchen: traditionally the female domain. Lounge room: a shared space where the family congregates. Laundry: another traditional female domain. Bathroom: unisex, unless you have enough and can be bothered separating the genders (a rather pointless exercise).
The mark of a good toilet is not its gender or its cleanliness, although that last one won’t go unnoticed! It is the size, it should be small and preferably proportioned to the individual. A cozy space that is all your own, where you can be as smelly as you please! (Farting essentially is the human version of territory scent marking.) Have you ever noticed how the smaller a space, the safer you feel? (Though not if you are claustrophobic of course!)
A Bathroom is a confined space, not to keep the smells in, to keep the smells out! What you breathe in and what you breathe out share something intrinsically in common, the openings. And to top it off your nose and mouth are connected (it seems they like to share)! When you fart you smell it because you just breathed it in, this is unavoidable unless of course you are able to sprint away after ever fart. The more disquieting thought perhaps is, that every breath you take gets shared around with every human and animal in your nearest vicinity.