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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Uncomfortable about unisex toilets at work

803 replies

Onlyinanemergency · 08/05/2018 12:05

My workplace is moving to new premises and all the toilets are to be unisex. Apparently the bathrooms consist of several floor-to-ceiling cubicals opening out onto shared sinks. There is then a large window onto a public corridor so that the sink area can be seen from outside the bathroom. There are 3 of these bathrooms, one on each floor of the building, as well as 3 single disabled toilets. The architects have obviously put a lot of thought into creating toilets which are unisex but also fairly safe and private, yet I still feel really uncomfortable about the idea. Particularly about not being given a choice. Am I wrong?

OP posts:
Viago · 08/05/2018 12:10

Someone mentioned that style on another thread and like you I appreciate that a lot of thought has gone into it. Personally though I wouldn't feel comfortable washing out a mooncup or similar in a sink area that opened out into a public area.

Also YANBU. Aren't they legally obliged to provide some single-sex toilets?

YourHandInMyHand · 08/05/2018 12:15

I was all for it until I considered the mooncup scenario. I wear one too! Can usually get away with just sorting it at home but not always.

I guess you'd probably be allowed to use the disabled toilet but then you'd likely feel self conscious doing so.

Having cleaned male and female toilets I'd not want to share tbh, would rather have separate.

songbirdnumber1 · 08/05/2018 12:19

Do the toilets have a basin in the full height cubicle? We have a similar layout and the cubicles are full height and have sink and toilet then there are shared basins and big mirrors which are the communal bit.

Greymisty · 08/05/2018 12:21

I don't get why they aren't designing unisex toilets with the sinks in the cubicle. I've been in ladies toilets that have the own sinks and I prefer it.

Ekphrasis · 08/05/2018 12:21

I doubt the architects are aware of moon cups - it's a very male dominated industry. My Dh is one and I don't think he's heard of a moon cup (I've not switched yet).

Our building was built about 8 years ago and all toilets open onto the main corridors, with a sink inside.

Still not great for privacy tbh as there's only a door between you and the busy workplace but at least the sink is within the cubicle.

I did think this was what most new buildings with unisex facilities were doing now.

Is there an option to contact the architect/ builders or is it completed?

Ekphrasis · 08/05/2018 12:22

I wonder if it's something to raise with RIBA actually.

YetAnotherSpartacus · 08/05/2018 12:26

Every unisex toilet I have been into is filthy with piss everywhere. I'd be uncomfortable because in my experience women's toilets are cleaner.

R0wantrees · 08/05/2018 12:29
LaSqrrl · 08/05/2018 12:31

Every unisex toilet I have been into is filthy with piss everywhere.


ItsLikeRainOnYourWeddingDay · 08/05/2018 12:31

I dread this happening

How mortifying when a man asks a woman why she is washing her hands before using the loo (hand washing before changing tampon)

Having to rinse a moo cup in a communal area

Making noises or smells and men being juvenile about it.

All the piss all over the floor

Men are going to wonder what a sanitary bin is

How unhygienic it is to have to touch the seat to put it down after the man before you forgot to

The woman with morning sickness.

The woman with a heavy period who might leave some blood streaks in error.

I would hate this op.

Onlyinanemergency · 08/05/2018 12:32

The cubicles don't have sinks inside, apart from the disabled. Funnily enough, it's been the Mooncup scenario that's been playing on my mind too! The building is completed so no chance to change now. I suppose I will have to just use the disabled... although using the disabled toilet because of periods really doesn't sit well with me!

OP posts:
Hyppolyta · 08/05/2018 12:39

I think this is something that needs mentioning.

It isnt just mooncups, women can also have blood stained hands from changing tampons, or need to wash hands and mouth after morning sickness.

Theres a few reasons women need privacy, not just for urinating but also for washing.

OrchidInTheSun · 08/05/2018 12:43

I was at a secondary school the other week and this is what the loos are like in the modern building. They all stank of piss and washing your hands in public like that was horrible. It felt like being in a prison where you had to be supervised. I used the ladies in the old building after that.

Greymisty · 08/05/2018 12:46

It's bad enough dealing with periods, morning sickness, the joys of being female in women only toilets...the thought of men being around Confused

The only upside of this set up man get shamed into washing their hands before leaving Grin....doesn't quite make up for the piss on the floor and seat though

redcaryellowcar · 08/05/2018 12:47

I worked at an organisation which just had single cubicle toilets, so they all had their own sinks within the toilet and were all complete rooms (ie not cubicles) generally they were fine but one (next to finance dept oddly!) always was stinky and not very clean. I'm not sure if this was because they just needed another one, and there were a lot of office based people nearby, but I would walk up a floor to use another one. I'd not be keen but I doubt you have the option to do much about it at this stage!

Kyanite · 08/05/2018 12:47

I wouldn't feel comfortable. I agree will all the comments before. I also like to check myself in the I have blood on the back of my skirt? Does my towel show in these trousers? Touch up my make-up or my hair...yes that's a personal thing I don't want a man watching and possibly making a comment about.

UpstartCrow · 08/05/2018 12:51

Out of curiosity, where have they put the sanitary waste bins?

Architects know there have to be sanitary waste bins. So even if they live in a man bubble, dont they wonder why there have to be sanitary waste bins? Or think to ask what women want from a public bathroom?
Why isnt that in their remit?

OrchidInTheSun · 08/05/2018 12:51

The other day I came out of the loo and realised I'd caught the hem of my dress in my tights. There was another woman washing her hands and we had a laugh about it. I would have been mortified if a male colleague had been there

PoulaFisch · 08/05/2018 12:57

My workplace's staff toilets have been unisex for 39 years. I've yet to hear of anyone vociferously complaining. It's just the norm.

Greymisty · 08/05/2018 12:58

I don't think men understand the practical implications of periods, they might understand the need for tampons, pads or mooncup but not the fact that it can messy. I live in envy of women with light no fuss periods my reality is I look like a murder scene! Stained clothes, half a bottle bleach down the loo, asking another woman to look at my butt for stains.

I would be tempted if i was the OP to femineize the toilets. Put cute little jars of cotton pads about, a dinky arrangement of tampax, some dried flowers, hand lotion next to the hand wash (wait maybe not hand lotion ConfusedBlush) but you get the idea.

Onlyinanemergency · 08/05/2018 12:59

I'm not sure about the sanitary bin provision - I was assuming there would be one in each cubicle but now I'm not sure. It would be very embarrassing to have to explain why you were waiting to use a specific cubicle (with sanitary bin) rather than using a free one (without bin).

OP posts:
DJLippy · 08/05/2018 12:59

What about the hygiene? Every unisex bathroom I have ever used has been disgusting. Maybe men don't care because that's what they think the public toilets are supposed to smell like. Ours don't! If the shoe was on the other foot do you think male architects would be happy to design unisex toilets and swap their clean toilets so that women could piss all over their floor? I don't think they would even consider building the things if it was their clean spaces that were in jeopardy. Why should I have to step on urine when I need the toilet? What about my delicate lady shoes!

velourvoyageur · 08/05/2018 13:03

Isn't the hygiene thing a bit of a red herring? Think arguments in the loo debate have to be robust. I agree with all arguments concerning safety but this 'men are messier' thing doesn't hold up for me, have often come across dirty seats in women's loos.

I live with housemates of both sexes and we have no issues in this regard. When it's been messy it's actually been more likely to be one of my female housemates (periods).

In my previous workplace we had a single loo for either sex and because there were more female employees than male we'd often end up using the men's loo if the other was occupied. It really was no dirtier than ours.

There are unisex loos where I study and again hygiene is not a problem.

AnchorDownDeepBreath · 08/05/2018 13:06

This wouldn't bother me at all - but I don't use a moon cup; and I've never seen anyone washing one in the toilets. I have no idea why.

I'd be happy enough washing my hands with men; and the men I know are aware of what a sanitary bin is. I'd be stunned if anyone at all made jokes about bathroom noises whilst actually in the bathroom...

Maybe it's generational? Are younger guys more aware of toilet things? Perhaps it's an unintended consequence of the whole metrosexual thing.

Onlyinanemergency · 08/05/2018 13:07

P0ula, I'd be interested to know more about the set up of your staff toilets. Are the sinks inside cubicles or shared outside. Are they busy? Our breaks are such that there are generally a few people waiting in line at any given time.

OP posts:
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