Men’s Bathrooms are Sexist and They Know It!

So, let’s talk about Babies! And Bathrooms! And Babies, in Bathrooms!

A picture of a man trying to change his child in a public men’s room has gone viral. This man is squatting on the wall in a restroom in order to create a surface to change his child’s diaper. Why? You ask. Because apparently there are NO changing tables in men’s bathrooms.

Screen Shot 2018-10-10 at 6.35.05 PM
Photo: 3boys_1goal
Follow

Now, there are some areas that do provide tables in public men’s bathrooms as Johnathan Church reluctantly found at a baseball game, however he was uncomfortable with the lack of privacy for his infant daughter while being placed next to urinals. A valid point in itself, but then again, he had a changing table located in there to be able to use.

My question is who even knew that this was an issue?! I am just seeing this now and the farthest back I could find of a man talking publicly on social media about this issue was a mere 3 years ago when Ashton Kutcher posted about it on Facebook.

Ashton Kutcher created a change.org campaign and New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman proposed the bill following the celebrity’s actions and advocacy efforts. Apparently, Obama passed a law called the “Babies Act” in 2016 that requires all public buildings to be equipped with baby changing facilities. I never knew ANY of this!

Babies Act
https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/5147

As the law states though it has to be public, so there is no obligation to private buildings to do the same. The photo has sparked more activism from Dad’s who have had this issue who are speaking up about it now. This is definitely a solution to the lack of changing tables in men’s bathrooms but I still have questions regarding bathrooms in general. Although there is more of a push to extend the changing tabled farther than merely public buildings, will there be diversification and inclusiveness in the process past the men’s room?

Now that there are gender neutral bathrooms will they be required by law to provide changing tables in those to ensure people who do not identify as male or female will still have access to these amenities if they so need it.

Another issue that can arise is ensuring that changing tables continue to be in compliance with ADA. If there is to be a changing table in a bathroom stall, to ensure it is an accurate height for anyone to be able to use. In the same token if it is in the public area of a bathroom is there enough room for someone to change their child and allow for wheelchair accessibility.

I am glad we are fully breaking down stereotypes and hope they do not continue to arise past the men’s bathroom, but also smoothly transition into being inclusive with any family dynamic so everyone can feel comfortable and confident going into a bathroom and knowing they will have a way to accurately and safely care for their children.

photo-1531391468402-01d7c7680bb3

Thanks for reading!

@Vagibond

18 thoughts on “Men’s Bathrooms are Sexist and They Know It!

  1. I had never realized that men’s restrooms typically do not have baby tables. It is ridiculous to me that this was not a thing. Men have babies and they take care of them as well – so why was it questionable to place changing tables in restrooms? I had also never realized that Ashton Kutcher and many are advocates for this change. Thank you for bringing this topic up because I feel like many people do not think about these things – at least individuals who do not have a child. Hopefully in the future all bathrooms will have the same essentials for babies and others. There are many grey areas in this topic but hopefully bathrooms can be equal to all!

    Like

    1. Thank you! I completely agree that it can be hard to know there is an issue with something if it does not affect you. I do not have children so I would never have thought about the lack of changing tables in mens bathrooms. Even if I did at any point, I guess I just assumed there was no issue with that.

      Like

  2. I also never realized that this was an issue but I am happy to see that something is being done. Although the law is only for public restrooms, it is a start and allows males to change their baby’s diaper if needed.

    Like

    1. I agree there is a start and with this picture going viral there is so much more attention than ever before so I am hopeful!

      Like

  3. I saw both of those posts on twitter and was shocked. I guess you never really think about this being a femlale, and it is normally the women taking the child to be changed. I think this is something we should definitley be working on. I think sometimes we rag on men a little bit, but they deserve equality too. If there is a single dad who needs to change his child, without laying them on the floor, he should have that.

    Like

    1. Exactly! I hope that when i have children at some point I will not have to worry about this issue and just know whoever needs to change our child will have a safe and accessible space to do so.

      Like

  4. I agree with you. I think that their should be changing tables in men’s bathrooms. By not having changing tables, it places all the “baby work” on women. However, what if they’re isn’t a women who can do that. By not providing changing tables it puts men in a box. I think the law should have included private buildings too. It is easy enough to add a changing table, so I think most buildings should take initiative and do that.

    Like

    1. I agree! There are families that do not fit the stereotypical nuclear family with a man and a woman. We need to ensure that every family, no matter their make up, has this privilege.

      Like

  5. I noticed that the author mentions the importance of making sure the changing tables are also wheelchair accessible, but this drew my attention to the fact that I have never seen one that would be easily accessible for parents well below average height. In addition to making them accessible for every gender of parent and positioning them in such a way that privacy isn’t an issue, I would also like to see more that have step stools immediately under them for easy access.

    Like

  6. This was such an interesting read, but I may have an anomaly to your findings with a personal account, that of which ultimately my father who was a single father for six years of my life has told me that he never really found any problems changing my diaper in public restrooms as the ones he went into had changing tables; both in the men and family restrooms. But, I’m really glad you shed light on this topic and reminding us that although public restrooms may be a safe space for most, it is not inclusive to all. I think it would be cool to elaborate on gender-neutral bathrooms and instead of making it a sole issue for gender and sexual minorities, to transgress and make it a bathroom for all. Because again, bathrooms don’t discriminate, people do. Thank you again!

    Like

    1. I am glad you had an anomaly! It is definitely not an issue everywhere but the fact that there is a discrepancy is definitely still an issue. Great point about gender-neutral bathrooms being a bathroom for all, thanks for that!

      Like

  7. I saw this image, previous to reading this article, and it was not until then did I realize that men’s bathrooms do not have changing tables. I absolutely believe men’s bathrooms are sexist. Historically, society has always labeled women as the caretaker and the man as the breadwinner. This stereotype began to break down with the introduction of women in the workplace. However, this stereotype can still be seen even in something as simple as a bathroom stall. The lack of changing rooms in men’s bathrooms further perpetuates the stereotype that taking care of children in a feminine quality. By failing to implement changing tables into men’s bathrooms, men are forced to struggle to take care of their child, while, further reinforcing the idea that it is a woman’s job to change diapers.

    Like

  8. I found this post to be extremely eye opening. Being a female, I have never been into a men’s bathroom. Even if I had, I am not sure the lack of changing tables would have been obvious to me. Considering the fact that childcare typically falls on women, it makes perfect sense as to why these features might have once been forgotten or purposely left out. Even with that being said, this mindset or societal expectation needs to be broken. I would hope that when I am married and having children that my husband will be able to change our child in a public restroom. A comment up above brings up a valid point. Why only public restrooms? This should be a feature in all restrooms. One good point brought to my attention from the post was the need for changing tables to be accessible to all individuals. Being in a state of privilege, I had never thought of accessibility for all people to these tables. I never even thought about the need to have a standard or code of compliance. I am glad to have read this article. I feel as though problems like this easily slip our minds if they are not obvious to us or personally effect our lives.

    Like

    1. I agree it is hard to take the “blinders” off sometimes but in instances like this and being informed is definitely the first step to possibly having a radar to change the way we think at times. I completely agree it should go even farther than public restrooms and be merely all restrooms.

      Like

  9. I can’t believe I never knew about this issue until now. Obviously it’s somewhat of a minor thing, but the fact is it ultimately contributes to reinforcing sexist and stereotypical views of both men and women. It paints the mother as the primary parent, reinforcing not only the idea that women should be more responsible for their children than men are, but also the notion that all families have a mother and a father. The world’s view of what men, women, and families as a whole “should be” is changing; I sincerely hope that this is something that changes with it.

    Like

    1. I hope it changes as well and I personally feel like it is! Unfortunately, a lot of changes are slow changes but everyone uses bathrooms so they should be inclusive to anyone who uses them.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s