Ladies and Gents: Public Toilets and Gender

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Olga Gershenson, Barbara Penner
Temple University Press, Jul 28, 2009 - Social Science - 250 pages

Public toilets provide a unique opportunity for interrogating how conventional assumptions about the body, sexuality, privacy, and technology are formed in public spaces and inscribed through design across cultures. This collection of original essays from international scholars is the first to explore the cultural meanings, histories, and ideologies of public toilets as gendered spaces.

Ladies and Gents consists of two sets of essays. The first, "Potty Politics: Toilets, Gender and Identity," establishes the importance of accessible, secure public toilets to the creation of inclusive cities, work, and learning environments. The second set of essays, "Toilet Art: Design and Cultural Representations," discusses public toilets as spaces of representation and representational spaces, with reference to architectural design, humor, film, theater, art, and popular culture. Compelling visual materials and original artwork are included throughout, depicting subjects as varied as female urinals, art installations sited in public restrooms, and the toilet in contemporary art.

Taken together, these seventeen essays demonstrate that public toilets are often sites where gendered bodies compete for resources and recognition—and the stakes are high.

Contributors include: Nathan Abrams, Jami L. Anderson, Johan Andersson, Kathryn H. Anthony, Kathy Battista, Andrew Brown-May, Ben Campkin, Meghan Dufresne, Peg Fraser, Deborah Gans, Clara Greed, Robin Lydenberg, Claudia Mitchell, Alison Moore, Frances Pheasant-Kelly, Bushra Rehman, Alex Schweder, Naomi Stead, and the editors.


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Ladies and Gents: Public Toilets and Gender

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The essays here, like their authors, are varied and wide-ranging, offering scholarly reflections-from cinematic, philosophical, sociological, architectural, and other perspectives-on the business of ... Read full review


The Private Life of Public Conveniences Olga Gershenson and Barbara Penner
Toilets Gender and Identity
Design and Cultural Representations
Afterword Peter Greenaway

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About the author (2009)

Olga Gershenson is Assistant Professor in the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the author of Gesher: Russian Theatre in Israel--A Study of Cultural Colonization.

Barbara Penner is a Lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, author of Newlyweds on Tour: Honeymooning in Nineteenth-Century America and co-editor of Gender Space Architecture.

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