Mother’s tale shows times have changed

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - A YOUNG MOTHER stirred

heated de­bate re­cently when she posted her ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing barred by a fe­male door­keeper from tak­ing her 3-year-old son into the women’s chang­ing room in a public swim­ming pool in Bei­jing. com­ments:

The woman felt she has been treated un­fairly, and she posted what had hap­pened on so­cial me­dia ex­pect­ing sym­pa­thy. In­stead, she was heav­ily crit­i­cized.

The woman was prob­a­bly brought up in a tra­di­tional cul­tural en­vi­ron­ment in which preschool chil­dren are largely deemed to be “gen­der neu­tral”.

When most peo­ple used public baths, it was not un­usual for mothers — at that time, as now, usu­ally the car­ers of young chil­dren — to bring their young sons into the women’s ar­eas of public baths.

Al­though some women might have felt un­com­fort­able, they were prob­a­bly less out­spo­ken, if not more tol­er­ant of the loss of pri­vacy.

That said, it is note­wor­thy that it has al­ways been ex­tremely rare for a father to bring his young daugh­ter into the men’s ar­eas of public baths.

Chil­dren are aware of gen­der at a very young age, prob­a­bly ear­lier than the young mother as­sumes. The door­keeper’s re­fus­ing to al­low the mother to bring her son into the women’s chang­ing room pro­tects the pri­vacy of the women in the room, and the in­no­cence of the young boy.

More and more public venues of­fer a uni­sex re­strooms for par­ents and kids or the dis­abled. It is sug­gested that the public swim­ming pools should also open uni­sex chang­ing rooms for the con­ve­nience of par­ents and their chil­dren.

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