When I was in secondary school our changing rooms were a large open plan space with benches around the walls to sit on and where we left our clothes.
There was one toilet with a lockable door (although the lock was broken more often than it worked) and the showers were through a no door doorway.
The showers were split into cubicles. Each cubicle had a curtain to pull across, a small space to change and dry yourself with a wooden bench to sit on or put your clothes on with the actual shower being through an open no door doorway in the cubicle.
Each cubicle had dividing walls but neither wall reached the ceiling nor the floor. Creating the perfect space for nosy girls (and sometimes boys – the main changing room door had no lock on it) to peer over as you showered.
Needless to say I rarely showered.
I would rather be a sweaty and smelly than be naked (and therefore helpless) in the shower as a group of girls swiped the shower curtain to the side to point and laugh at my nakedness and humiliation.
I also became quite the expert in getting undressed and dressed without exposing any part of my body.
Changing rooms were the perfect place to be picked on.
When I was young you got picked on for having pubic hair and boobs and you picked on for not having them!!
You got laughed at because you wore a bra or you didn’t wear a bra, if your pants were unacceptable to the cool crowd that was another laughable offence.
There was also the dreaded moment when the PE teacher (sometimes male) would crash into the changing rooms when you were in some sort of state of undress.
I assumed that nowadays the days of communal changing rooms would be long gone in schools, but no, Teengirl’s changing rooms are almost identical in design to the one’s of my era (the 80s) and just like me she hates them.
The same teasing is still there for the exact same things I found out in one of my many car chats with Teengirl.
Cars are great places for chats with teenagers aren’t they?
And nowadays there are mobile phones with cameras to further expose any changing room humiliation!
I really thought we’d learned from the mistakes of the past, that we’d addressed the whys and how does bullying happen in schools and gotten rid of places where bullying, taunting and torment could take place?
So why, oh, why with all these new schools being built and millions being invested in our schools haven’t they changed the design of the changing rooms?
How hard is it to create a lovely space with enough individual changing cubicles for a whole PE class with working locks and no gaps?
Searching for picture to go with this post I’ve just discovered that schools have CCTV have changing rooms and toilets!?!! Really?
Isn’t it time we realise that teenagers aren’t body confident and stop forcing them to change in front of others.