40 Creative Ways Businesses Signaled Their Customers Which Bathrooms Are For Sitting Or StandingBy Ridwan S
Bathroom signs are for assisting guests in finding their way around the facilities. After all, it shouldn’t be difficult to locate a restroom. There is a range of styles, colors, and patterns available for such signs. While some guests may like the straightforward, bright, easy-to-read signs leading them to the restroom, others prefer more sophisticated ones. A funny or clever bathroom sign is always a welcome sight and can brighten anyone’s day. But sometimes, the designers go too far and make something stereotyped, confusing, or downright disrespectful. Although we admire the ingenuity with which some of these sophisticated designs were created, it’s best to stick to the basics in most cases. Why? This list of stereotyped and pointlessly gendered bathroom signs should answer that question.
Tall Women not allowed?
No one should be condemned based on their height; it’s not something we choose. In general, men are taller than women, but there is a wide range of heights in any gender. The artist of this bathroom sign sought to use this difference to label the restrooms.
It is unclear from the picture if the women’s restroom door is shorter than average or the men’s is taller than average. If it’s the former, it discriminates against tall women. At the very least, they would surely feel uncomfortable choosing the shorter doorway.
Unfortunately, many people associate certain features or attributes with a specific gender, although in reality, these characteristics are not gender-specific. It is an outdated belief that only women enjoy excessive spending and shopping or that only men enjoy sports. This is simply not true.
This restroom sign’s designer doubled down on the stereotypes. Not only that, but they gave each gender a single focus. At least this one isn’t just rude to women; men surely wouldn’t enjoy being labeled as so one-track-minded. Yay for equality?
Gendered bla bla
The notion that women talk more than men is a fallacy that needs to be dismissed. It was with this belief in mind that the artist of this bathroom sign created these stereotypical signs. Men, on the other hand, can be chatterboxes, in our experience.
This artist may have never met a man who is more talkative than a woman. We believe that, in addition to being stereotypical, this sign can also be confusing to bathroom users. Instead of this offensive label, a regular label would have been preferable.
ONLY Men to the left!
In a culture where we want more male engagement in child care and parenting, this is discouraging. The bulk of male toilet designs ignore the possibility that a man may have to change his baby’s diaper. There are no diaper changing tables and disposal facilities in men’s restrooms.
You have to wonder what a father would do if he needed to change his child’s diaper in this situation. Should they enlist the assistance of one of the establishment’s female employees? Or they’d have to hunt for restrooms that cater to males and infants.
Athletes And Cheerleaders
The artist is old-fashioned if they feel that only women can be cheerleaders and only men can play football. The truth is that any of these occupations can be done by either gender. It’s a matter of personal preference and ability.
In addition, not every woman seeks to be a cheerleader, and not every man aspires to be a football player. We believe the person who created this out-of-date sign should update their knowledge base. Everyone has the right to make decisions free of stereotypes.
If you ask us, this is a fantastic example of someone attempting to be unique but failing miserably. It’s enough that they’ve already painted the doors in gender-specific tones. The supporting sentences, on the other hand, are stereotypical and offensive. And, on the male’s door, somewhat confusing.
Contrary to what this door suggests, weight loss is not exclusive to women. Some men are also working to shed weight. Not only that, but it can reinforce improper body image in someone with an eating disorder. The words “gent” and “women” would suffice in place of the unnecessary sentence.
The Mermaid & Pirate
In pop culture, the mermaid is one of the most well-known mythical characters. Although the majority of people believe that all mermaids are female, there are male mermaids, too — mermen. This is what makes the sign odd. It’s also worth noting that women can be pirates as well, albeit they’re less common.
It’s also strange that women are portrayed as mythological creatures while men are depicted as historical figures. If they wanted to employ mythological characters as their bathroom sign, they should have used both mermaids and mermen. Alternatively, they may opt to portray both genders as pirates if they so desired.
Worse than rude
Unfortunately, statistics show that women are still in charge of the majority of household chores in most homes. It is widely assumed that a woman’s major function in the home is to do housekeeping. Even with times changing, some people still believe that housework is not a man’s job.
They may have come up with a more appealing approach to convey the same information without being sexist. It’s disrespectful to say “your mother doesn’t work here!” We feel that keeping one’s surroundings clean is everyone’s responsibility, and it’s not just a mother’s job.
Skirts vs. Pants
Seeing derogatory language used to characterize genders in public areas, such as restrooms, is depressing. The description on the door is especially misleading because both genders wear pants! It’s clear that the designer meant that the skirts are for women and the pants are for men.
If this were to be taken literally, there would surely be some confusion in the bathroom on the right. After all, it is common for women to wear pants. And we’re not sure what a Scotsman in a kilt would do in this situation.
Cowboys versus Angels
The link between cowboys and angels is difficult to discern. Although they are both common themes, they’re almost never associated with one another. Cowboys and cowgirls would work, but how would they gender angels? There’s no discerning word between male and female angels!
Whatever the inspiration for this design, it is controversial and confusing. Even if you’re trying to be unique, restroom signs should be easy to read and straightforward. We don’t mind if you make your signs creative but keep simplicity in mind.
Backward Bunz Blunders
The use of bathroom signs to describe body attributes, particularly the buttocks, is very unethical. Apart from that, this sign went on to define butts using gender as a criterion. Who told this designer that “shapely Bunz” is only found in women?
Such terms should not be used to label people. Humans are one-of-a-kind beings with a diverse spectrum of forms and shapes in all aspects. We’re still unsure what “manly Bunz” meant to the designer. Regardless, the description is unethical, to say the least.
So men need no etiquette lesson
After witnessing first-hand the terrible state in which people leave public restrooms, it’s safe to say that some people need a lecture on proper bathroom etiquette. But this doesn’t just apply to one gender. Both males and females should know better.
At first, the protocol appears to be broad until they mention that women are the “cleaner sex.” The statement seems to be gender-biased to us. In our perspective, cleanliness should not be limited to one gender. Everyone should be considerate of their surroundings and maintain a clean atmosphere at all times.
The Right Way
While it is a funny joke between grandparents when the woman is always right, this is in no way true. Sure, men can be arrogant and stubborn, but so can women. And both genders can be equally wrong in any case.
Although this sentence was meant to be a pun, we think it sounds stupid. Both men and women can be stubborn when they think they’re right, and the notion that women are more obstinate or men are usually wrong is a remnant of a bygone era.
In general, the world is moving away from gender-specific preconceptions that limit young children’s options. As a result, seeing this school hall pass is discouraging because it contributes significantly to the gender-specific stereotype. It seems to have been done in good fun and the teachers likely didn’t perceive anything wrong with it.
There’s nothing wrong with a hall pass that includes sports, milkshakes, and cupcakes. What caught our attention was its was gender-specificity. It may cause the children to think in a skewed manner. There’s nothing wrong with males liking cupcakes and milkshakes and females preferring football and sports.
Nuts or no nuts?
We admire people who break the rules to create something unique. Squirrels are not sexually dimorphic — meaning the males and females look the same — so using them for a clever bathroom sign works well. The problem is the clothing and makeup stereotyping genders.
It’s hard to be mad at this one with the clever joke of “no nuts and nuts” in addition to the outfits. While technically true, in our opinion, the use of makeup on the female sign is too offensive to be cute.
Peep Tom, peep!
Women aren’t the only ones vulnerable to negative stereotyping in toilet placards. Some restroom signage, like this one, has a male-biased message. This design implies that men, more often than not, behave inappropriately in bathrooms. To say the least, we find this design repulsive.
A male peeping over the divider to look into the women’s restroom? This is offensive to both men and women! We’re amazed that the administration of the establishment didn’t object to the design. This facility’s design is a slap in the face to the responsible guys.
Let’s “Ruff” things up
The designer tried to incorporate a furry-friend concept. However, we’re not sure if they realized that all breeds have males and females. They used a bulldog to represent the men’s area and a female poodle to represent the women’s section.
The designer doubled down on the association with gruff bulldogs being male, at least in most depictions in movies and TV shows. And, of course, the dainty poodles that are usually female. In any case, we believe there are more respectful ways to describe each gender.
Well, at least this designer admitted that women can enjoy sports. But they managed to be offensive with it! Jumprope is often associated with females, particularly children. What’s extra confusing, though, is that there are plenty of well-known female surfers.
There’s nothing wrong with jumprope, and at least this person used sports for the women’s bathroom design, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. Why do the women get the schoolgirl sport and men get the more challenging activity?
Distasteful Times Two
Here’s another that both men and women would find offensive. Sure they stuck with the basic stick figures and even scrapped the boxy shirt for men and dress for women, but there’s still something very wrong with it. Do we even need to say it?
Clearly, the owner didn’t think that there was anything wrong since this was the second time they used those signs. Do you see the black print above the signs? It did take us a second to realize that the woman has pigtails. Is that a step up or step down from the standard dress?
So many questions here
The message behind this artwork has to be the most perplexing we’ve seen so far on this list. As with dogs, all insects have males and females in the species. And the use of only butterflies and moths for women doesn’t make much sense.
Why do men get a variety of insects and women just get Lepidoptera? And, for all you entomologists out there, you might see the missed opportunity with the signs. Damselflies are on the male side, but the word “damsel” refers to women!
Not the best definition to start with
We’re not sure what dictionary this designer was consulting because these definitions are certainly not in any global dictionary we’re aware of. We have no idea how they came up with these interpretations, but they are incorrect on every level.
They’re also assigning inanimate terms like “laugh and filth,” and equating boys to “dirty noise” is quite disrespectful. Not to mention that sassy giggling isn’t a uniquely female trait. In situations like this, we recommend that designers stick to the standard design rather than causing complications with unusual ideas.
Mirrors Aren’t for Men
Another example of a discriminatory remark made in a public restroom. A Reddit user noticed this in a restroom they frequented and decided to share it with other internet users. We’re not sure if this designer was being rude to men or women with this one.
The use of mirrors isn’t gender-specific. Are they trying to say that women use mirrors too much? Or that men have the confidence to not need one? We’re curious if they used something equally offensive on the outside restroom doors.
This one is just wrong in terms of biology. Only male deer have antlers! Sure there are some cases of females with antlers, but it’s rare. So, why couldn’t they have one with antlers and one without? Why did they give the female antlers and even add flowers to it?
They weren’t lazy with the designs, either. They didn’t use the same head and just add flowers to one. The face of the buck is distinct from the doe. Confusing signs aside, we have to give them points for a lovely design.
Top Hat vs. Lipstick
This public toilet’s design is just perplexing. Top hats and lipstick, as the footnote correctly stated, are not a clear-cut factor for distinction. Even broadening it to hats and lipstick doesn’t help. What happens if someone wears both of the accessories?
Since the facilities required a gendered restroom, it would have been simpler if the doors had just regular signage. What we find ridiculous is that this was found at a university. Surely academics are more sophisticated that supporting gender stereotypes, right?
Japanese For Outdated
Remember one of the first signs that implied that only women can be parents? Men can and should be accountable for their children’s needs, thus restrooms should be equipped to accommodate them. It must be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to share the load if men’s restrooms don’t have changing stations.
For fathers in the facility with their babies, the lack of diaper changing facilities in men’s bathrooms might be frustrating. And let’s not forget the addition of blue and pink; doubling down on gender stereotypes. This is one design that needs a change as soon as possible.
So women are men’s clothing?
We want to find this sign’s designer and have a chat with them. As we mentioned earlier, women can (and often do) wear pants. So what does “mens clothes” mean? Shirts and pants? Or did they just need an accompanying sign to the women’s bathroom labeled “dresses”?
We also want to point out the designer’s lack of English skills. Shouldn’t there be an apostrophe in “mens”? This isn’t just offensive to gender but to English grammar. And, to be honest, it’s rather uncreative. Hopefully the designer didn’t make any more after this.
Sharks vs. Mermaids
The gender-discriminating criteria in a local café’s restroom were “sharks and mermaids.” Sure sharks and mermaids are both aquatic creatures, but there’s one big distinction — one’s real and one’s a myth! Not to repeat ourselves, but why didn’t they just go with mermen?
With this one, we feel bad for the sharks. Is the implication that sharks are aggressive, which is usually a male-associated trait? Sharks are nothing like the movies stereotype them as, and again, there are males and females! Overall, this one is just confusing and wrong.
To be honest, this one isn’t as bad. Both men and women may have garbage in the bathroom, but it’s safe to say that women usually need to dispose of sanitary napkins and tampons — an issue males don’t have.
Then again, the inclusion of nappies in the list of female waste means that men aren’t the ones changing diapers and taking care of their kids. Does this mean that the men’s room isn’t equipped with diaper changing facilities? Why is this still such a common problem?
This one is creative, and admittedly cute, but altogether pointless. Most of the signs on this list take advantage of gender stereotypes to distinguish their bathrooms, and although this one does that a bit, they weren’t as bad as most of them.
Sure, guitar players are more often associated with males, but it’s not out of place to have female musicians. And, going with the music theme, it wouldn’t be off to associate males with bulky headphones. The inclusion of a baby playing the keyboard is cute, though.
When distinguishing males versus females, the distinction is usually pants versus dresses and long hair. So, what were they trying to do with this one? It’s totally fine to have a cartoon of a pizza on the doors at a pizza place, but making them different is just weird.
As the comment comically points out, why is the female slice the one with arms? Unlike most of the pictures on this list, there is no stereotyping invovled. It’s just confusing and absurd to have a distinction between the two signs.
The only reasonable explanation for how the designer arrived at this conclusion is a lack of ideas. Apart from that, there’s no better explanation for why males have a mustache and females have a fish — mermaid? — tail. Did they really need to add that?
They also added a “wordplay” on the signage with the women’s room labeled as “fewhale.” We’ve seen adding feminine prefixes to words, like using shero vs hero, but this just stretching it. If they wanted a gendered restroom, they could have simply written male and female.
Brilliant vs. Gorgeous
We applaud the sign’s designer for abandoning the old-fashioned method of description. They failed, however, when they solely described girls based on their appearance, while males were described based on their intelligence. It’s unfair if we only regard women as “gorgeous girls.”
Women can be smart and pretty, and so can men! Sure the alliteration is cute, but reinforcing negative gender stereotypes is not appropriate anywhere — especially if you’re just trying to find the restroom! Why do the “creative” designers go for such things?
Definitely the worst possible way!
Okay, we have a lot of questions here. Or, maybe not. We’re not sure if this is offensive, creative, or something in between. This design is definitely confusing to anyone that doesn’t know emojis, or rather, what they mean. This sign caters to a certain age group.
Could you imagine trying to give direction to a child or your grandparents? Having to explain why those phrases were used is a very awkward conversation that no one wants to have. And using such subversive phrasing doesn’t seem appropriate for public bathroom signs.
Talk About Unnecessary Signage
At first glance, it feels like this designer encourages males to be untidy in the restroom. The photo below is from a Jimmy John’s restaurant. Normally, patrons are expected, and encouraged, to be tidy and clean up after themselves. This certainly gives a mixed message.
We all know that men stand and women sit, but they took it a bit too far. First off, calling sitting girly is offensive to women. And depicting “showoff” just encourages young boys to test it out, and just make a mess everywhere. We’re not sure what the showoff sign’s purpose is.
The main issue with gendered bathrooms is that the designers of their signs often use stereotypical vocabulary to characterize women. Take a look at this sign, for example, where the designer depicted a woman applying lipstick in the restroom. On the other hand, the male character arrived to relieve himself.
We don’t believe bathroom signs should reflect the fact that women can touch up their makeup in public facilities. Females also fart in the restroom, and men use the bathroom mirror to fix their coifed hair. These stereotypical signs are insulting to both men and women, and they should be discouraged.
Colors do not equal genders
The majority of people appear to assume that certain colors indicate specific genders, which is a fallacy. Blue is said to be the color of boys, whereas pink is thought to be the color of girls. But colors aren’t gender-specific, and anyone can like either.
In fact, it used to be reversed. Until the mid-1900s, pink was associated with boys and blue for girls. Believe it or not, blue used to be considered a dainty color. This is just one reason why it’s wrong to use colors to denote gender. It’s completely arbitrary!
Apart from utilizing stereotypical vocabulary, some designers choose to differentiate genders through apparel. The bathroom’s designer opted to hang underwear to represent each gender. Although this may appeal to some, it may not appeal to others, because people are now embracing a variety of clothing styles.
At least they used older undergarments for the signage, and in neutral colors, too! If they were to use modern-day clothing, they’d have to pick between boxers or briefs. And that alone would be confusing because some women find men’s boxers to be comfortable.
Yin, Yang, what?
When it comes to being perplexing, this sign is at the top of our list. The designer of this sign believed that everyone could understand what he was saying. Apart from the “yin and yang,” nothing else distinguishes this gendered restroom.
Aside from your discretion, it’s difficult to say what factors influence your decision to use one of the restrooms. This scenario exemplifies why we believe gendering restrooms is unnecessary. Even though yin and yang are usually feminine and masculine, using the same symbol is additionally confusing.
Confusing For Every Gender
Maybe we gave out our award for the most perplexing bathroom sign a little too soon because we’ve discovered a new contender. We can’t come up with a decent explanation, even after taking a long zoomed-in look at these signs.
It’s difficult to tell what the design of these bathroom doors is. Ignoring the gender stereotypes with the woman in heels and man playing hockey, the design is just weird. Why did they attach the arms and legs with no torso in between?
Guided by the Cartoons
Let’s round out our list with this amusing and perplexing sign. Gendered outlines direct patrons where to go; they use blue and pink, and the girl has a ponytail and a dress. But that wasn’t enough. The designer had to add cartoons to the signs.
So, Hello Kitty is for girls only and Pepe is for boys? Another item worth mentioning is the cartoons’ expressions. Hello Kitty character appears to be struggling and Pepe appears to be quietly emptying himself. We’re wondering if this is yet another stereotypic categorization based on gender.