Dorm divide prejudicial

Shelby Ryan, 18, left, from Sherman Oaks, a freshman at Cal State Northridge, and her roommate Abby Souza, 18, right, from Davis, hang out inside their dorm room with Austin Garcia, 18, from Bakersfield, who was visiting from his room located down the hall of the coed dorm, August 26, 2013. All three students are freshmen. (Mel Melcon • Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Last week, The Collegian ran a story about the gender divide in the school’s dorms. When I read the story, I was shocked that this is still a thing.

College is supposed to be preparing young people for the real world. Sometimes, in the real world, we don’t have the luxury of discriminating against with whom we choose to live with. If you’re desperate, you’ll live with anyone who can pay the other half of the rent. Shelter is survival; survival is paramount.

While these traditional gender separations in dorms aren’t based in misogyny, they are prejudicial in nature because they assume that the two roommates can’t control themselves. It’s time we finally break the tradition and integrate dorm rooms.

People have said things like, “We’re not Berkeley.” As if Berkeley, as a liberal bastion, is the only place that it’s socially acceptable for men and women to live together in college.

If we’re to expect young people to be adults, then we should treat them as such.

It isn’t necessarily an ideal scenario for men and women to live together. The genders have some vast differences that might make the initial adjustment period longer than if they were the same gender.

The biggest adjustment will be in the bathroom, where men and women have different ideas of courtesy and different sets of gender-specific products that will fill the bathroom – a common area.

However, no matter the differences the sexes have, we have the capability of living together. And the fact is, the choice should exist.

If it doesn’t, we’re just helping to perpetuate the image of college life from 1980s comedies where men and women are foreign to each other.

Why is it taboo to have boys and girls living together? Well, that’s easy – boys and girls have sex with each other. This antiquated logic saw us through the 1950s, but what of 2015?

Simply putting two people in a room together does not mean they’re going to start having sex. They aren’t Jack and Rose, and the Titanic is not going down. Expecting the pair to get together isn’t realistic. Because in reality, most people can’t stand each other, and thus the possibilities diminish.

People have more self control than we give them credit for. In fact, having sex with your roommate is the last thing you’d want to do. It would be so awkward living together that people are going to avoid it, anyway.

How does this segregation policy apply to our gay population?

If boys have sex with boys and girls have sex with girls, then what we’re left with is utter chaos. It throws a wrench into the master plan of separating the genders.

Furthermore, putting gay people into dorms with a roommate of the same sex is discriminatory because under the existing policy, it assumes heterosexuality.

How about transgendered students? Or gender non-conformists?

Why should anyone be forced to continuously room with someone of a specific gender because of a box checked on their behalf 20 years ago?

It’s silly. Why should we have any level of segregation at all?

The only divide we should have is in public bathrooms, and only because men and women have different requirements. If we can find a way to effectively incorporate them, then we should do away with that separation as well.

I don’t necessarily even want coed bathrooms. The line always looks longer for the women’s bathroom, and I’d prefer not to experience that issue. But if it means uniting the genders, then we should do it.

Combining the bathrooms isn’t going to turn men into sexual predators, and it’s offensive to men if you think that’s going to be the case.

Things aren’t going to change overnight, but the least we can do is to start talking about the gender issues that are made apparent by these policies. If we can find a way through the issue and achieve desegregation, we’ll be better equipped to tackle more impactful issues like gender roles and gender inequality.

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