Young women in Sweden, Germany and Australia have a new cause: They want men to sit down while urinating.
This demand comes partly from concerns about hygiene -- avoiding the splash factor -- but, as Jasper Gerard reports in the English magazine The Spectator, ''more crucially because a man standing up to urinate is deemed to be triumphing in his masculinity, and by extension, degrading women.'' One argument is that if women can't do it, then men shouldn't either. Another is that standing upright while relieving oneself is ''a nasty macho gesture,'' suggestive of male violence.
A feminist group at Stockholm University is campaigning to ban all urinals from campus, and one Swedish elementary school has already removed them. Some Swedish women are pressuring their men to take a stand, so to speak.
Yola, a 25-year-old Swedish trainee psychiatrist, says she dumps boyfriends who insist on standing. ''What else can I do?,'' said her new boyfriend, Ingvar, who sits.
But I can think of another reason to ban urinals. They are a sexist waste of space and money.
Because bathroom architects give extra places for guys to go, enabling them to pee while they stand up, guys are in and out, with little time wasted.
Some employers think this helps productivity and as a result women get crude remarks made to them, like ''what took you so long?'' Sexual harassment like that makes some women shy about using the bathroom and, as a result, makes them more prone to have humiliating accidents.
The only reason we girls take longer to go than guys is because we obviously have to displace more clothing and then also sit. Guys merely walk up to a urinal, unzip and whip it out.
I, however, have to walk into a stall, lock it, turn around, pull down my pants (or hold up my skirt), pull down my panties, sit down and then - finally - I can pee.
Some might question that even if schools removed urinals from boys' bathrooms, what's to stop a boy from peeing into a toilet behind the stall door?
They won't if low ceilings are placed above the toilet, physically forcing them to sit.
(That's also not a bad idea by itself - stall ceilings - to give everyone, boys and girls, total privacy. It would stop the harassment of girls and boys at school from other kids standing on the toilet in the stall next door, looking down on the kid on the toilet and making fun of her/him, perhaps even taking embarrassing photos with a camera phone and emailing them around).
Or moisture sensors can be placed on the tile floor, sounding an embarrassing beeping alarm if a boy misses.
For school boys that are still defiant, teachers could simply assign a couple of girls from their class as restroom monitors. The girls would observe which boys' shoes were facing the improper direction.
Since there wouldn't be any urinals, just stalls with doors, the girls wouldn't see anything they weren't supposed to see. An offending boy would be given a warning. Repeat offenders could be assigned bathroom cleaning duties or be denied bathroom access.
Unequal restroom budgeting results in longer lines for women at concerts, ballgames, amusement parks. We therefore miss more of these events than men, despite having paid the same price for a ticket.
Due to the long bathroom lines, we also are more prone to having a humiliating accident.
If guys had to pull their pants down and sit to go, they'd be up in arms about the lack of adequate restroom facilities and more stalls would be constructed.
My answer to the average guy who is probably outraged at my support to ban urinals?
You've probably never suffered the embarrassment of wetting your pants while waiting in a long bathroom line at a ballgame or crowded club, as I have, and then had to walk back to your seat, totally humiliated, with everyone smirking or outright laughing at you.
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Why Do We Allow Teachers and School Officials to Humiliate Our Kids?
Degrading strip-searches, forcing girls and boys to urinate into buckets openly and in front of each other in the classroom, paddlings that send kids to hospitals, humiliating bare-bottom spankings, hidden video cameras in showers and locker rooms, embarrassing forced exposures in front of others, denying bathroom breaks that result in humiliating accidents... When are we as citizens going to demand an end to it?