We Have to Talk About Gendered Restroom Signs

Frankly, I’m shocked it hasn’t been brought up yet. With all the progress we’ve made over the last serval years to combat stereotypes among numerous communities, we’ve failed to address an issue that’s right in front of our eyes: Gendered restroom signs.

Sure, we’ve fought for gender-neutral restrooms, we’ve made progress regarding inclusivity, but when it comes to the actual signage, we’ve allowed a gender stereotype to live on in our age of progress. Think about it. Regardless of your preferred gender identity, when you’ve gotta go, how do you know which restroom to enter? What is it that identifies restrooms? The signs. And on those signs are symbols that depict males and females.


Notice a trend? On every sign, the woman is wearing a dress. It’s nearly 2016, and we’re identifying women by the fact that they’re wearing a dress. This is a microaggression if there ever was one. It’s a subjugation, telling women that no matter the progress they make, no matter the autonomy they think they have, the patriarchy is still in control.

You identify as female? Go use the restroom clearly marked with a garment signifying female subjugation. Remember when women weren’t allowed to wear anything but dresses? Remember when a woman wearing pants was shocking? Yeah, that was the 1960’s. More than half a century later, we continue to subtly reinforce the idea that women are a separate class that does not act autonomously, but is instead directed by men–a separate class that does not order, but rather obeys.

I’m here to say that this microaggressive nudge by the patriarchy must be torn down like the Berlin Wall. It’s time to say goodbye to oppressive restroom signage. If we aren’t at a place at which we simply remove all gendered restrooms (I’m willing to accept that may take some time), can we at least identify restrooms without triggering feelings of inferiority and oppression?

I’m sick and tired of being reminded every single time I go out to a restaurant or movie that in our heteronormative culture, I’m considered lesser. It hurts, and it’s wrong.

Good? Good.