What Happens to a Bathroom Break Deferred?

From The Huffington Post

“When I used to go to the bathroom, I literally had somebody counting down the minutes,” Dickerson says.

It was particularly difficult when she was having her period and felt she couldn’t use the restroom when she needed to. Eventually, she was being reprimanded for too many breaks, she says. Worried about losing her job, she says she tried so hard to avoid using the bathroom that she eventually developed a bladder infection.

In case you missed my earlier post on the history of the bathroom break (turns out, it’s not just history)…


  1. Douglas storm March 25, 2012 at 8:15 am | #

    nice…it prompted this: One of the abiding memories of school for many of us is the fact that you have to ask permission to use the bathroom and that that request can be denied you.* We are taught in school, and perhaps this is the sole abiding goal of the institution, how to be bossed; to learn the value of compliance. Fear has always been the basic motivating force in America for the laboring classes. It still is.


  2. BillW March 25, 2012 at 3:44 pm | #

    slight OT, does anyone know of where the field of ‘work psychology’ originated? If I remember correctly, it began in Germany (called something like ‘Arbeiter psychologie’ if you’ll pardon my German), before it was imported stateside. This happened at the big mill towns that sprang up next to rivers, especially at the more forward thinking conglomerates such as AEG, Krupp, etc. which were doing more than just resource extraction. The idea was to provide an alternative work related identity (based on things like promotion ladder, “honor” in serving the company in a manner analogous to service of aristocratic masters, etc.) to forestall any socialist organizing and obviously to have a more reliable workforce which was also diverse with different dialects of German, Polish, Czech, etc. being spoken all over the place. The applicability of these ideas to Detroit and Midwestern steel mill towns was obvious and they were picked up pronto by those trying to keep an unruly workforce that was even more diverse in check.

  3. Cay Borduin March 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm | #

    Mr. Robin,

    I’m wondering if you have read Jonathan Haidt’s just released The Righteous Mind which covers his research into the moral foundations of politics from a psychological perspective. His work offers some keys as to why conservative movements behave as you have documented. I don’t know if you want to venture into those waters, as you have made it clear your work is not a psychological indictment of conservatives.

    • McTavish March 26, 2012 at 9:17 am | #

      I haven’t read the Haidt book, plan to. Haven’t read (plan to also) Mooney’s or the earlier book by the man who is always talking about frames (the name escapes me now), but the reviews of which all seem to make excuses for the conservatives’ bad behavior. Someone has got to make the psychological indictment. These people are really ugly. It is especially important as we are on the brink of totalitarianism.

    • McTavish March 26, 2012 at 9:21 am | #

      Further, I read Corey’s book, three times. It is clever, well reasoned, and makes the necessary connections, but I got the strong impression from the book, and from this site, that it’s (the implications of the “conservative” philosophy) all a bit of a game and not taken with the deadly seriousness it warrants.

  4. Corey Robin March 26, 2012 at 9:29 am | #

    Hi Cay. I haven’t read Haidt’s book though I’ve read the reviews. As you suggest, it’s not really my cup of tea. I remain leery of that kind of approach for a wide variety of reasons, one of which is that it tends to essentialize certain notions that are much more historically contingent than we might think.

    McTavish: Not sure what it is you’d like me to do re conservatism. I wrote a book in which I take those ideas seriously, deadly seriously, and I write about those ideas on this blog. But that’s quite different from rallying a movement to stop conservatism. If that’s what you mean, then, yes, guilty as a charged.

    • Cay Borduin March 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm | #

      I am not as leery as you, mostly because I tend to love those Malcolm Gladwell-esque books. Answers from science – the thrill! However, your caution about historical context brings to mind David Brooks recent foray in this genre and hence, agreement on my part.

      Haidt’s book so far is holding up for me. It’s shedding light on conservatism that is accurate to my own experience and observation. Largely Haidt claims that all humans have instinctive reactions to many things before the rational brain even notices. That is well-established brain science, so far, so good. His claim is that humans have a set of instinctive moral reactions and conservatives have a larger set than liberals do. He never claims that this is better, just different, and if we want to understand conservatives, it’s good to know what they are feeling. Of course liberals aren’t necessarily exempt from those instincts – it’s a spectrum.

      I think Haidt’s done a pretty clean job of identifying the set of moral instincts. If conservatives are feeling those things strongly, it partly explains why my parents value stuff I find meaningless or even harmful. The rest can be attributed to William F. Buckley and Glenn Beck.

  5. Lea Bunte October 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm | #

    You should always seek early treatment for bladder infection coz it can become more severe. ‘

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