Wednesday, September 19, 2018

After Complaints, Restaurant’s Bathroom Sign to Come Down

A Colorado pizzeria says it will remove a controversial bathroom sign that caused a stir after going viral on social media.

When I first saw the bathroom sign, I honestly wondered how anyone could think it’d be a good idea to install in a public place.

The sign features an illustration of the familiar male and female gender symbols common on bathroom signs, but this one has the male symbol lifting up the skirt of the female symbol.

I understand the humor of it. Really, I do. And I get that there was surely zero evil intent in its display at a Colorado pizza restaurant.

But in this day and age and in this sensitive climate of #MeToo, in which women and men have felt empowered to share their stories of being sexually victimized, it’s difficult for me to imagine installing such a sign if I owned a public restaurant.

I guess I’ve seen enough complaints and accusations from people on social media that my mind would automatically assume the worst outcome before I’d ever post the sign.

The possible furor behind such a sign, however, goes back well before the #MeToo social media campaign. Consider stories about transgender bathroom bills that have sought to allow transgender people the option to use the restroom based on the gender with which they identify, not the gender into which they were born. The backlash for these kinds of proposals included accusations that men, for example, could feign a feminine identity just to have the opportunity to spy on unsuspecting women in the women’s restroom.

There’s a real fear there, irrational as it may seem to others. I’d think people would decide for themselves that it’s no laughing matter.

Critics have gone so far as to suggest the sign promotes sexual assault. I think that’s going a bit far, too. There’s a big difference between humorously depicting something and promoting it. Perhaps those critics have never heard of editorial cartoons.

Still, I’m glad to see that the signs are coming down.

What do you think of them?

Would you have complained that they were inappropriate or laughed with the sight gag and went on about your business?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.