Toilet Training

I found this post on toilet signage quite interesting. Yes, toilet signage. Think about it — boys and girls, men and ladies — binaries, gender roles and signifiers…

‘Women’s and men’s washrooms: we encounter them nearly every time we venture into public space. To many people the separation of the two, and the signs used to distinguish them, may seem innocuous and necessary. Trans people know that this is not the case, and that public battles have been waged over who is allowed to use which washroom. The segregation of public washrooms is one of the most basic ways that the male-female binary is upheld and reinforced.

As such, washroom signs are very telling of the way societies construct gender. They identify the male as the universal and the female as the variation. They express expectations of gender performance. And they conflate gender with sex.

I present here for your perusal, a typology and analysis of various washroom signs.’


About Madame Moselle

Freelance provocateur. Enthusiastic optimist. Dancing bear. Believer. Facilitator of perversion. Disseminator. Libertine. Moth and flame. Rouser of rabble. Stirrer of pots. Bowerbird. Public spectacle.
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One Response to Toilet Training

  1. Meredith says:

    Thanks for this… since becoming a bit short-sighted I’ve found myself in men’s toilets several times. A couple of times I haven’t realised until I was at the hand-washing stage. Interestingly, although I am unambiguously femme, nobody has ever seemed to mind and I’ve only ever received smiles as a result. Abolish all the signs, I say. But then, as I get blinder and blinder into my old age, I guess I’d end up weeing in the storeroom.

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