Finding One’s Place to Be and Pee: Examining Intersections of Gender-Dis/ability in Washroom Signage


  • Mark Castrodale Western University
  • Laura Lane Brock University


Washrooms, gender, disability, spatial justice, discourse


In this article, we explore power relations in space by examining how the intersections of gender and disability are discursively represented in washroom signage. To do so, we analyze various washroom signs found in public spaces and airports that the authors encountered in their travels in North America, Hawaii, and Europe and how they depict bodies in spaces, times, and contexts. We discuss dominant discursive representations of gender and disability in relation to constructions of family, caregiving roles, and cultural location. We argue that washroom signs constitute gendered and disabled subjects and mediate their subjectivities. Furthermore, they function to regulate bodies in space, influencing notions of who belongs, who belongs where, and how different bodies are de(valued).


Dans cet article, nous explorons les rapports de pouvoir dans différents lieux en examinant la façon dont les intersections du genre et du handicap sont représentés dans l’affichage des salles de toilette. Pour ce faire, nous analysons l’affichage des salles de toilette dans différents endroits publics et dans les aéroports que les auteurs ont remarqué pendant leurs déplacements en Amérique du Nord, à Hawaï et en Europe, et la façon dont les corps des gens sont représentés dans différents lieux, contextes et périodes. Nous discutons des représentations dominantes du genre et des handicaps relativement à la construction des familles, des rôles de soignant et de l’emplacement culturel. Nous faisons valoir que l’affichage des salles de toilette représente des personnes d’un certain genre et ayant certains handicaps, et nous discutons de leur subjectivité. De plus, l’affichage vise à réglementer les corps dans différents lieux, et influence les notions déterminant le sentiment d’appartenance des gens, à quel endroit ils appartiennent et la façon dont les différents corps sont (dé)valorisés.


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37.1- Transgressing Borders/Boundaries: Gendering Space and Place