40 Businesses Teach Us How Not To Label RestroomsBy Areeba T
Restroom signs are used to help guests find their way around the facilities. After all, trying to find a restroom should not be difficult. Such signs are available in a variety of designs, color schemes, and patterns. Though some guests prefer simple, bright, convenient signs directing them to the restroom, others prefer more advanced ones. A humorous or clever bathroom sign is always appreciated and can liven up people’s days. However, sometimes designers go too far and create something derogatory, confusing, or deeply offensive. Even though people appreciate the innovation with which some of these intricate designs were created, in most cases it is best to keep things simple. How so? These cliched and needlessly gender-specific bathroom signs should provide an answer.
This is an outstanding example of someone trying desperately to be different but failing spectacularly. It’s bad enough that the doors have already been painted in gender-specific colors. But, the accompanying sentences are cliche and disrespectful. And, on the male’s door, a little perplexing.
Weight loss is not limited to women, despite what this door implies. Many men are also striving to shed pounds. Not just that, but it can deepen someone’s body dysmorphia and insecurity. Instead of the unwarranted statement, the words “gents” and “ladies” would be enough.
Respect your mothers
Thanks to centuries of gender “norms,” it is widely assumed that a woman’s primary role in the home is housekeeping. And sadly, statistics show that women still take on most of these tasks. Even when society has evolved, many people continue to believe domestic work is not a man’s responsibility.
Keeping one’s surroundings clean is everyone’s job, and it is not solely the responsibility of mothers. It is impolite to say, “Your mother does not work here!” They could have come up with a better way of conveying the same information without being sexist.
Who told this designer that “shapely Bunz” can only be found in women? It’s bad enough that the whole world bases people’s personalities on their gender, then they had to go ahead and assign them gender-specific body attributes, too? It’s madness!
Using bathroom signs to describe body parts, especially the buttocks, is extremely unethical. Humans are unique beings with a wide range of forms and shapes in all aspects. We’re still unsure what the designer meant by “manly Bunz.” Regardless, the description is, to say the least, offensive.
Generally speaking, we’ve moved past the silly misconceptions that young children have different preferences based on their gender; boys like blue and racing cars, girls like the color pink and dollhouses, etc. However, seeing this school hall pass is discouraging because it significantly contributes to the gender-specific stereotype.
It appears to have been done in good fun, and the teachers most likely saw nothing wrong with it. What drew our attention to it was its gender-specificity. It may cause the children’s thinking to become skewed. There’s nothing wrong with men enjoying cupcakes and milkshakes while watching women go for the gold on the field.
You really need to have to take baby steps with the sheer sexism that’s prevalent among designers everywhere. You finally think there’s hope in the world when they include women in sports on their signs, then you take a look, and they manage to make it offensive.
Jump rope is, ridiculously enough, frequently associated with females, especially children. What’s more perplexing is that there are numerous well-known female surfers, so there’s no reason to leave the girls out of this one. Why do women get the easy schoolgirl sport while men get the notoriously challenging activity?
Tall women scary?
The artist of this bathroom sign attempted to label the restrooms using the dumbest measure. No one should be judged solely on their height; it is not something we choose. Men are generally taller than women, but any gender has a wide range of heights.
The picture does not show whether the women’s restroom door is shorter than average or if the men’s room is taller than average. If the former, they discriminate against tall women. At the very least, they would be uneasy choosing the shorter doorway.
The high seas
It’s worth noting that women can be pirates, although it is less common. But women pirates are by far the more famous names in history. So this design makes absolutely no sense. Although most people believe that all mermaids are female, there are also male mermaids — mermen.
They should have used both mermaids and mermen if they wanted to use mythological characters. Or, they could have chosen to portray both genders as pirates if they wanted to. It’s odd that women are portrayed as mythical creatures while men are portrayed as historical figures.
Let men wear skirts
The description on this door is particularly misleading because both genders wear pants! The designer clearly intended for the skirts to be for women and the pants to be for men. It’s disheartening to see derogatory language used to describe genders in public places like restrooms.
What on earth would a kilted Scotsman do in this situation? We’re not quite sure. If this sign were to be taken literally, there would undoubtedly be some confusion in the right-hand bathroom. After all, women frequently wear pants in today’s society.
It’s safe to say that some people could benefit from a lesson in proper bathroom etiquette, seeing firsthand the deplorable state in which people leave public restrooms. However, this isn’t the fault of only one gender. Males and females alike should know better.
The protocol initially appears to be broad. That is, until they mention that women are the “cleaner sex.” This is an unfair bias towards women and proves the still prevalent patriarchal notion that a woman should clean up after men because males are far too “manly” to ever care about hygiene.
The Wrong Way
Women have the right to be irrational and heated and beautifully wrong! While it’s a funny joke between grandparents that the woman is always right, it’s not true. Women, like men, can be arrogant and stubborn. In any case, both genders can be equally wrong.
Both men and women can be stubborn when they believe they are correct, and the idea that women are more obstinate or that men are always wrong is a relic of a bygone era. Although this sentence was intended as a pun, we think it sounds stupid.
This is just so wrong on so many levels. This design implies that men frequently behave inappropriately in restrooms. While it may be true that the majority of such culprits are men, it does not mean men all over the world use public restrooms for just that one purpose.
Women aren’t the only ones who are subjected to negative stereotyping in restroom signs. To put it mildly, we find this design repulsive. We’re surprised that the establishment’s administration didn’t object to the design. The signage is a slap in the face to the responsible parties.
A dog’s life
This is just rude to all dogs at this point, not just the implications this design brings to the table. Especially pitbulls, which can be angels and are so misunderstood. The designer attempted to incorporate the concept of a furry friend. We’re not sure if they realized that every breed has males and females.
Of course, there are the dainty female poodles, but that’s not the problem here. In any case, we believe there are more appropriate ways to describe each gender. For starters, who’d use dogs to describe their patron in the first place?
Boys will be bugs
We thought being compared to dogs in a random diner was bad enough. Now we’re not even on the name level as dogs to them? Why would you ever imply your visitors are insects is honestly beyond us. This artwork’s message is the most perplexing we’ve seen yet.
All insects, like dogs, have males and females in the species. Furthermore, using only butterflies and moths for women makes no sense. Why do men get a variety of insects and women just get Lepidoptera? So not only is this design ridiculous, confusing, and rude, it’s weirdly sexist as well.
Neither of these definitions are in the Merriam-Webster database, Oxford doesn’t know where they came from, and even Urban Dictionary washed their hands of this mess. We’re not sure which dictionary this designer was using, but they need to have their signs proofread.
The use of terms like “laugh” and “filth” and comparing boys to “dirty noise” is quite offensive. Not to mention that sassy giggling isn’t just a female characteristic. It would’ve been better if they just consulted a proper dictionary or… ask someone with a brain if the signs were right.
Manly Men don’t need mirrors
Manly men don’t need to know what they look like, at least that’s what this designer thinks. We’re not sure if this designer was being rude to men or women with this one. It looks like men are getting the short end of the stick, but the message also implies women are vain.
Who needs mirrors to look presentable, right? Or make sure we don’t have anything weird on our faces. Both men and women use mirrors. Are they implying that women use mirrors excessively? Or that men are self-assured enough not to require one? No one knows.
1920’s Goon vs. makeup
If you’re a bowler hat-wearing, lipstick-rocking individual, you’re definitely in trouble here. The design of this public restroom is simply perplexing. As the footnote correctly stated, Bowler hats and lipstick are not distinguishing factors. Even broadening it to include hats and lipstick is ineffective. What happens if both of the accessories are worn?
What we find absurd is that this was discovered at a university. Academics must be more sophisticated than to support gender stereotypes, right? Because the facilities required a gendered restroom, it would have been easier if the doors only had standard signage. There was no need for this foolishness.
Fathers not having proper facilities to accommodate their children because of the stigma against men with kids has been a long-standing problem in society, and stereotypical labeling like this does not make things better. Because men can and should be responsible for their children’s needs, restrooms should accommodate them as well.
The lack of diaper changing stations in men’s restrooms may be frustrating for fathers visiting the facility with their babies. Not to mention the addition of blue and pink, which reinforces gender stereotypes. This is one design that should be changed right away.
Rejoice, dear readers; we’ve officially been upgraded to trash in the eyes of our hosts. Both men and women may have garbage in the bathroom, but women typically need to dispose of sanitary napkins and tampons, which males do not. That was the great divider for this one designer.
However, the inclusion of nappies in the list of female waste…does this mean that men are not the ones changing diapers and caring for their children? Are the men’s rooms lacking diaper-changing facilities? Why is this still such a prevalent issue?
Rise of the dough
Apparently, food for women is now sentient. Pants versus dresses and long hair are usually used to separate genders. So, what were they hoping to accomplish with this one? The arms are really throwing us off on this one. What great gendered purpose do they serve on a slice of pizza?
As the commenter asks, why is the female slice the one with arms? Unlike the majority of the images on this list, no stereotyping is involved. The distinction between the two signs is simply perplexing and absurd. We just have one question: are arms feminine?
There’s no better explanation for why men have mustaches and women have mermaid tails other than the fact that the designers had literally no more ideas left on the board. Did they really need to add that? It feels more lazy than anything else.
They could have simply written male and female if they wanted a gendered restroom. They also used “wordplay” on the signage, labeling the women’s room “fewhale.” We’ve seen adding feminine prefixes to words, such as shero vs. hero, but this is overkill.
Okay, we’ve got a lot of questions. Or perhaps not. We’re not sure whether this is offensive, creative, or somewhere in the middle. This design is definitely perplexing to anyone who is unfamiliar with emojis or what they mean. This sign is aimed at a specific age group.
Such subversive language does not seem appropriate for public restroom signs. Could you imagine attempting to direct a child or your grandparents? Explaining why those phrases were used is an uncomfortable conversation that no one wants to have. A restaurant is not the time nor place for the birds and the bees lecture.
The image below is from a Jimmy John’s franchise. At first glance, it appears that this designer encourages men to be disorganized in the restroom. Patrons are normally expected and encouraged to be tidy and clean up after themselves. This certainly sends mixed signals.
We all know that men stand and women sit, but they went a little too far with it. To begin with, women find the term “sitting girly” offensive. And depicting “showoff” simply encourages young boys to experiment and make a mess everywhere. We’re not sure what the showoff sign is for.
What about the colorblind?
First of all, colors are not gender-specific, and either can be liked by anyone. But the vast majority of people believe that certain colors indicate specific genders, which is incorrect. Why is blue the color of boys, and pink is considered the color for girls?
In fact, these colors used to be flipped. Pink was associated with boys until the mid-nineteenth century, while blue was thought to be girly. Blue, believe it or not, was once considered a delicate color. This is just one of the reasons why using colors to denote gender is incorrect. It’s completely random!
The true chatterbox
The idea that women talk more than men is a myth that must be debunked. The artist of this bathroom sign created these stereotypical signs with this belief in mind. Men, on the other hand, can, in our experience, be chatterboxes.
This sign can be confusing to bathroom users, aside from being harmfully stereotypical. A regular label would have been preferable to this offensive decor. This artist has probably never met a man who’s comfortable around them; men are easily the chattiest people in existence.
This sign’s creator believed that everyone could understand what they were saying. Nothing else distinguishes this gendered restroom except the “yin and yang.” This sign is at the top of our list for being perplexing. What exactly is the gender distinction between the yin and yang symbols?
Yin is negative, dark, and feminine, Yang positive, bright, and masculine — according to Ancient Chinese philosophy. It’s a bit weird for a bathroom sign, even if anyone recognizes it for what it is. This scenario demonstrates why we believe gendered restrooms are unnecessary.
Decipher to use
Um, what? Perhaps we handed out our award for the most disconcerting bathroom sign too soon because we’ve discovered a new contender. Even after taking a long, zoomed-in look at these signs, we can’t come up with a good explanation. Try as we might, we can’t give you an explanation for this one.
Why did they connect the arms and legs without a torso? The design of these bathroom doors is difficult to discern. Leaving aside the gender stereotypes of the woman in heels and the man playing hockey, the design is simply odd.
Bathroom pointer signs are always helpful, but this one, not so much. Patrons are directed where to go by gendered outlines; they use blue and pink, and the girl has a ponytail and a dress. That, however, was insufficient. Cartoons had to be added to the signs.
We’re wondering if this is yet another gender-based categorization. So, Hello Kitty is only for girls and Pepe is only for boys? The expressions of the cartoons are also noteworthy. Hello Kitty appears to be in pain, while Pepe seems to be quietly emptying himself.
It is a long-held misconception that only women enjoy excessive spending and shopping or that only men enjoy sports. Regrettably, many tend to associate certain characteristics or features with a specific gender, even though these characteristics are not gender-specific. This is simply not the case.
The designer of this restroom sign went all-in on stereotypes. Not only that, but they focused solely on one gender. At least this one isn’t just directed at women; men wouldn’t appreciate being labeled as so narrow-minded. What about equality?
To the left
The majority of male toilet designs overlook the possibility of a man having to change his baby’s diaper. In men’s restrooms, there are no diaper changing tables or disposal facilities. This is discouraging in a culture where we want more male involvement in child care and parenting.
You have to wonder what a father would do in this situation if he needed to change his child’s diaper. Should they enlist the help of a female employee at the establishment? Alternatively, they’d have to look for male and infant restrooms, which might be out of their way.
If the artist believes that only women can be cheerleaders and only men can play football, they are out of touch. The truth is that any of these jobs can be performed by either gender. In the end, it’s a matter of personal preference and ability.
We believe the person responsible for creating this old-fashioned sign should update their knowledge base. Furthermore, not every girl aspires to be a cheerleader, and not every boy aspires to be a football player. Everyone has the right to make decisions that are not influenced by stereotypes.
Yee haw but with piousness
Male and female angels cannot be distinguished, so it’s difficult to see the connection between cowboys and angels. Sure, they’re both well-known themes, but they are almost never associated with one another. Cowboys and cowgirls would work, but how would angels be gendered?
Even if you’re attempting to be special, restroom signs should be simple and easy to read. We don’t mind if your signs are creative, but please keep them simple. Whatever inspired this design, it’s perplexing. The notion that men are wild and unruly while women are demure and collected? We may never know.
Because squirrels are not sexually dimorphic (males and females look the same), using them as a clever bathroom sign works well. We admire people who defy convention to create something new. The issue is that clothing and makeup are used to stereotype genders.
With the clever joke of “no nuts and nuts” in addition to the outfits, it’s difficult to be mad at this one. While technically correct, we believe that the use of makeup on the female sign is far too offensive to be cute.
Is it even necessary to say it? Sure, they stuck with the basic stick figures and even ditched the boxy shirt for men and dress for women, but something is still very wrong. We found another one that both men and women would find offensive.
It took us a second to notice the woman has pigtails. Is that an improvement from standard attire? And did you spot the black print above the signs? Clearly, the owner didn’t think anything was wrong because this was the second time they used those signs.
Antlers are only found on male deer! Females with antlers do exist, but they are uncommon. In terms of biology, this one is simply incorrect. So, why couldn’t they have one with and one without antlers? Why did they give the female antlers and even decorate them with flowers?
Aside from the perplexing signs, they do have a lovely design. They were not sloppy with it. They did not use the same head and simply add flowers to one of them. The buck’s face is distinct from that of the doe.
Clothes have no gender
We’d like to track down the designer of this sign and speak with them. Women can (and frequently do) wear pants. So, what exactly does “men’s clothes” mean? Shirts and trousers? Or did they simply require a “dresses” sign next to the women’s restroom?
Shouldn’t “mens” have an apostrophe? This is not only offensive to women but also to English grammar. To be honest, it’s not very creative. We’re hoping the designer didn’t make any more after this; the English language is clearly not their strong suit.
Under the sea
In a local café’s restroom, the gender-discriminating criteria were “sharks and mermaids.” Sharks and mermaids are both aquatic creatures, but there is one major difference: one is real, and the other is a myth! We already said this, but why didn’t they just go with mermen?
Sharks are not what they are portrayed in movies, and there are both males and females. We feel bad for the sharks in this one. Is the implication that sharks are aggressive, which is typically associated with males? Overall, this one is confusing and incorrect.
Most of the signs on this list use gender stereotypes to distinguish their bathrooms, and while this one does, it’s not as bad as most of them. This one is imaginative and, frankly, adorable, but it serves no purpose. All it does is confuse people.
While male guitarists are more commonly associated with the instrument, female musicians are not uncommon. In keeping with the music theme, associating males with bulky headphones wouldn’t be out of place. The inclusion of a baby playing the keyboard, on the other hand, is adorable.
Find better words
When designers only describe girls based on their appearance while males are characterized by their intellect, then they have failed. We applaud the sign’s designer for foregoing the traditional method of description. However, it’s unjust to regard women solely as “beautiful girls.”
Why do “creative” architects gravitate toward such things? Men and women can both be intelligent and attractive! Sure, the rhyming is cute, but bolstering negative gender stereotypes is never appropriate — especially when you are just looking for the bathroom.
The main problem with gendered bathrooms is that their sign designers frequently use traditional gender roles and vernacular to characterize women. Consider this sign, where the designer illustrated a woman applying lipstick in the restroom. The male character, on the other hand, came to relieve himself.
We believe that bathroom signs should not portray the fact that women can apply makeup in public restrooms. Females fart in the restroom, and men use the bathroom mirror to style their hair. These stereotyped signs are offensive to both men and women and should be avoided.
Aside from using stereotypical vocabulary, some designers choose to distinguish genders through clothing. The designer decided to hang underwear to represent each gender in the bathroom. Although this may appeal to some, it may not appeal to others because people are increasingly embracing a wide range of clothing styles.
At the very least, they used old underwear in neutral colors for the signage! If they wore modern clothing, they’d have to choose between boxers and briefs. And that would be perplexing enough because some women find men’s boxers to be comfortable.