Study Theorizes Male Troops Unwillingness to Use Unisex Bathrooms Has to Do With Preserving Masculine Status Quo in Special Operations

A study has found that 33% of men said they would never use unisex bathrooms but 61% of women said they were fine with them. And although male troops cited risk, hygiene and privacy as reasons, the authors theorized the opposition has to do with men wanting to preserve status quo in the predominantly masculine special operations community, Military.com reported.

“Maintaining Male Exclusivity: Porcelain Privilege in the Military” was published last month in the journal Armed Forces & Society.

It came from research in done 2013 and 2014 about advantages and barriers to women in special operations units.

The men expressed not wanting to lose private male-only spaces, an “inherent fear that integrating women into men’s bathroom space will necessarily mean a loss, not of privacy for women but of the privileged status of men-only spaces,” the researchers wrote.

“There’s a lot of things that you don’t hold back in a team room. It’s behind closed doors,” a male service member told the researchers. “You do what you need to do to get whatever accomplished and you say what needs to be said. You put a female in the mix and then there’s people getting offended.”

The respondents implicitly suggested that women did not belong in special operations.

“All I’m saying is the bathroom’s open all the time,” one female participant said. “You have stalls. Go in the stall. The showers are closed. Grab your towel, put it on before you get out. You’re not walking around the company naked, and that’s all I’m saying.”

Given that the study was done before transgender people were allowed in the military, it did not discuss bathroom use by transgender service members.