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Woman In The Mirror

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Published on Apr 26, 2015

Last night, I discovered a two-way mirror in the restroom in Berwyn, IL. With over 4K views in 20 hours after posting on FB, I am choosing to move the video I shot last night here. Some thoughts:

As a interdisciplinary performer, often in the public view, I retain certain expectations of privacy. When I went to use the restroom last night in Berwyn, IL, I noticed a full-length mirror opposite of the toilet. Curious, I explored and discovered that it was two-way mirror, the door behind it cut away to allow an unobstructed view of the toilet ...and anyone who may be using it.

Women are often told that we are "paranoid", that the extra precautions we take are "excessive". We are not. We engage in varying levels of due diligence, because if (or more likely when) something happens, we are the ones blamed. If something doesn't happen (that time), we are written off as "acting crazy" and "overreacting". When something does happen, it is common to blame and shame the person it happened to, instead of holding the person who committed the violation accountable.

When I discovered this two-way mirror, many things ran through my head, including...

"What if people know about this and I'M the jerk for posting?"
"I talk about being a woman in comedy. What if people think that comedy is unsafe for women?"
"What if people see that I've performed burlesque and write me off with slut shaming, stepping over the inherent issues of consent?"

I became angry when I realized that I was more torn apart by the possible social ramifications around "causing trouble" by exposing it than the fact that it existed. This self-doubt is problematic and a product of rape culture.

(http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/03/e...)

In this case, there was a cleaning closet behind a door with a large cutout, AND A TWO-WAY MIRROR allowing an unobstructed view of the toilet. There was no one in there at the time of discovery- thankfully. And there could have been. And maybe there has been. And maybe they were watching, or maybe more. Maybe there have been videos. Videos that women have no idea they are in and now are floating around without their knowledge... or consent. Maybe.

And maybe you might think, "Well, now that's taking it TOO far. There's no evidence of THAT!" I know I did.

But here's the thing- there's also no evidence that there HASN'T BEEN. What there IS, is an unlocked cleaning closet behind a door with a large cutout, AND A TWO-WAY MIRROR allowing an unobstructed view of the toilet.

THAT. IS. UNACCEPTABLE.

What if you sister, wife, or mother had been using that bathroom? When I think of it in those terms, I suddenly shed the fear that is so loud and become angry. Why I'm slow to do that for myself, I'm realizing, is also indicative of the impact of rape culture. So I took a stand and posted the video.

The owner was approached. Upon hearing about this video, the owner communicated that that he sees it as free publicity for his establishment. He acknowledges that the mirror is there and knows that the door is unlocked. He explained it as being a continuation of the creepy funhouse theme of his establishment. It used to feature a monster head that lit up through the two-way mirror, scaring ladies as they used the restroom.

You know, like ladies enjoy when they're alone in the bathroom.
You know, like one that was NOT in the guys bathroom.
You know, because tripping primal defenses is hilarious.

And now that monster is gone, leaving space and opportunity for a new one.




On rape-culture:
http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/03/e...

On double-sided mirrors:
http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/...

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