This is a feminist issue because...peeing standing up.


I'd like to preface this with the following: if you're commenting, you don't have to address all of the issues presented.

Looking for the most off-the-wall feminist issue I could think of, I googled, "feminism urinals", and I came across the apparently controversial, multifaceted issues involved with urinating standing up and urinals/male restrooms in general:

1. As portrayed by, female body parts are used as urinals, sinks, and toilets. What is the appeal of peeing in a nun urinal or a urinal shaped like a pair of obviously-female lips? What does this say about how our society thinks of women? Do men see this as just humorous or just a urinal, or does this influence males to propagate patriarchy?

2. According to several blogs and forums, feminists in Sweden, Germany, and Australia are fighting to ban urinals. Their goal: to make men have to sit down to pee. How banning urinals would accomplish this...I don't know. The thinking behind eliminating urinals is that women can't so men shouldn't and a man standing up to pee is "a nasty macho gesture," reduces women, and "is deemed to be triumphing in his masculinity." What do you think? Should urinals be banned? Is a urinal "just a urinal?" Is urinating standing up degrading to women or just a natural way to perform a bodily function?

3. Some feminists think that there should be female urinals in female restrooms. This would make both men's and women's restrooms equal. Another suggestion is unisex urinals. With unisex urinals in both men's and women's restrooms, it would make choosing between the two less daunting for intersexual and transgender individuals. Alex Schweder suggests that restrooms are designed from a Freudian model that states that women are basically men without a penis. Similarly, women's restrooms are men's restroom's lacking urinals. With the penis being a symbol of power or superior masculinity, installing urinals in female restrooms will be one more step towards leveling the playing field between men and women.

4. Along the lines of #3, the GoGirl is a convenient toilet for women, allowing them to pee standing up. The GoGirl website even claims, "You won't be like a man. You'll just pee like one."

While the video does explain the usefulness of the product, does the statement, "You won't be like a man. You'll just pee like one," seem to be taking this issue too far? Moreover, isn't "[being] like a man" part of the equality feminism strives for? The way it's phrased, it sounds like "[being] like a man" is a negative thing. Is penis envy the bigger issue?

Why is or isn't peeing standing up a feminist issue?


  1. The fact that men can stand up while peeing and women cannot is not something that I view as a feminist issue. Personally I see this almost as ridiculous as it would be for women to complain that they do not have a penis. It just is what it is in this case. I think that trying to create a female urinal is a bit ridiculous as well because lets face it, the idea just doesn't seem too practical to me. It is simply a difference in the lives of men and women due to anatomical differences.

    I did however take a look at and found these "novelty" urinals to be absolutely outrageous. This so offensive and promotes the idea that women are objects which may be used, defiled, and disrespected at the pleasure and enjoyment of men just for the hell of it. It truly disgusts me that anyone even thought of creating such a urinal in the first place. The thoughts that went into this were clearly sexual. I believe these urinals send a message which promotes sexual harassment and abuse.

  2. Very interesting entry, Heather! I agree with Alyssa in that feminism needs to worry about more important things than how people pee. When I pee in front of a urinal the last thing on my mind is how "macho" and dominant I am over women. It is true that in the past, many people put a large emphasis on the fact that men have penises and women do not, but in our modern society I doubt that many people think that way. Women have vaginas and men do not.
    I also find the urinals shaped like female body parts is offensive and perpetuates the idea that men can simply 'piss' on women.
    Lastly, when I first read about the GoGirl product that allows women to pee standing up, I thought it was ridiculous and that its creators had taken the issue too far. Then I watched the clip and realized that it could be very beneficial for women who don't want to sit on a dirty public toilet or who are camping in the woods.

  3. I personally think that banning urinals just because women don't currenly have widespread use of urinals is a bit excessive. It's one thing to make males and females equal, it's another to take away simple conveniences from men just for the sake of equality; it definitely wouldn't help anything. However, I do think that urinals shouldn't be shaped like female body parts, although I'd bet that a lot of those are in strip clubs where it wouldn't be much worse than the club itself. Men can use urinals because it's easy for them to hide themselves, so they have privacy. The female urinals, I'd really rather not see, I don't want to walk into a bathroom to see another woman peeing - it's kind of hard for women to keep their privacy, and I can't imagine it being all that comfortable. It's definitely not anymore convenient than toilets, so what is the point of bringing urinals into play in female bathrooms? If it's for equality, it definitely doesn't work that way, men have convenience, women never would. As far as the Go-Girl product goes, I think it would definitely be convenient for the women who won't be anywhere near a toilet, although I don't think it's nearly as clean as they claim it to be (the claim that germophobes even use this product) - urine is generally sterile, however, if any gets to sit out it will become a place for bacteria to sit and grow. This is a huge problem for women with catheters, if their catheters aren't properly sterilized (even when women do clean them out with boiling water), it's extremely common for them to get UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections). Although the risk wouldn't be as great with the GoGirl product, it would still be there if people don't use boiling water to clean them (the video tells them to use soap and water, that really won't kill any potential bacteria, especially if someone lets that product sit for long enough in their purse without being cleaned.)

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This page contains a single entry by Heather published on April 4, 2010 6:31 PM.

Feminist Issue....Emotion and its barrier was the previous entry in this blog.

This is a feminist issue because... family values value children. is the next entry in this blog.

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