One-size-fits-all is a phrase seldom uttered these days, especially when it comes to clothes. It’s no surprise either, it’s a terrible idea. Everybody is shaped differently and when it comes to having clothes that fit, something tailored to an individual’s unique characteristics is always best.
The same thing can be said about other aspects of life. A one-size-fits-all solution is rarely the best way to resolve a problem. There is no one-size-fits-all diet, no one-size-fits-all exercise routine, no one-size-fits-all car and no one-size-fits-all smartphone. Life is complicated and messy and individuals are all wildly different.
Thankfully, basically everybody understands the inherent impracticality of only having one option, and there are a staggering number of choices and options in clothes, food, electronics, diet and exercise. One place where this isn’t the case, however, are laws governing more social aspects of life.
For a benign example, take smoking indoors. In Washington, there is a straight-up ban of smoking indoors except in an individual’s private residence. No businesses at all are allowed to have smoking indoors. This is a one-size-fits-all solution legislated by the government. For the thousands of types of businesses, for the millions of people in the state, smoking is just plain banned. Vaping, too.
While smoking indoors is something that I personally don’t want and I prefer to have basically all of the businesses I frequent to be smoke-free, there are those that are marginalized by this law. Much like one-size-fits-all clothing, while it may fit for some, for others it’s a terrible solution.
Another issue that’s been brought up lately is transgender restroom use. A new Washington law states that anybody can use any bathroom that they feel fits what they identify as. Not surprisingly this has led to conflict, most recently with an individual who did not appear to identify as a female undressing in a pool locker room in front of a girl’s swim team.
I’m inherently for freedom and really have no problem with who uses a bathroom. If all bathrooms were unisex, I wouldn’t care. However, this one-size-fits-all solution simply doesn’t work across the board. Instead of having to legislate social opinion, public places with restrooms ought to have the freedom to choose how to address the issue. What works in an office restroom may not work in a pool locker room. What works in a club or bar may not work in an elementary school setting.
Everybody has a different opinion. Whereas I don’t care, there are tons of parents that do care about their children and are vehemently against letting anybody use whatever bathroom they feel like. Their opinion is simply that, their opinion. It’s not right or wrong, it’s what they believe.
Mandating a one-size-fits-all solution only leads to conflict. I say let businesses and public places decide for themselves. If customers, patrons or attendees all prefer to have strict guidelines about bathroom use decided by anatomy, then that place ought to be able to provide that option. If another place – say a gay bar on Capitol Hill wants to be super progressive and not care who uses what bathroom, they ought to be able to make that happen as well. Businesses need the freedom to meet customer demand in as many ways as possible. Any business that acts transphobic will lose that demographic of customers as well as those who care about trans issues. If this does not affect the bottom line, then the customer base didn’t care about trans issues in the first place and no harm was done. If it does affect the bottom line, the business will be motivated to maximize profit by doing what customers like.
The only thing that any wide-reaching law does is create conflict and remove freedom. In one-size-fits-all clothing, the only danger is ill fitting clothes and looking like a fool. When it comes to social laws, however, the potential for damage and harm is far reaching with consequences that damage both sides of the spectrum.
Government needs to stop legislating progressivism and let society follow its own path.