There is no reason to delay the use of signage like this.

I understand that not everyone is ready for universal restrooms.

While I may use a restroom at a place like Oberon in Cambridge, MA, which has a large restroom of stalls and urinals used by all genders simultaneously, it's simply too much for some people.

When genitals are privately exposed for the purpose of elimination, they must only be privately exposed amongst their own kind. Strict segregation of penis and vulva at all times in public spaces is a nonnegotiable for many people.  

Note: Vulva is the correct term for the external female sex organ. The vagina is actually the internal genital tract extending from the vulva to the cervix, but for some reason, it is often used  incorrectly in place of the anatomically-correct vulva.

Someday, universal restrooms will be commonplace. People of all genders will enter a single space for the purpose of elimination, and no one will give a damn. Future generations will undoubtedly scoff at our bizarre need for genital segregation in the same way most of us scoff at the idea of segregating the races on a bus, a lunch counter, or a school. 

But some of us aren't ready for genital desegregation yet. I understand. Change is hard. Fear is a powerful force, even when it's unwarranted and misguided. Altering a longstanding norm can take time.  

But in the cases when a public restroom is a single serve space with a lock on the door, why can't we at least dispose of the male and female distinctions and use something more appropriate like this outstanding sign located at RJ Julia Booksellers in Middletown, CT?

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Not only is this sign more respectful and inclusive to all genders, but it makes no sense for three women to be waiting for their single use restroom while the restroom designated for men is empty.

From a perspective of efficiency, this is a change that must be made.

More importantly, signage like this demonstrates the necessary level of respect, inclusivity, and civility that should be afforded to people of all genders, as well as a much needed acknowledgement that gender is not always a binary proposition, and that all people deserve to live their most authentic lives absent of stigma, bias, or fear. 

Gender binary signage should already be a thing of the past, at least in the case of single use restrooms. This is a small but meaningful step that even the most ardent traditionalists and most staunch genital segregation advocates would be hard pressed to oppose.

If you own a business with single-use restrooms equipped with gender binary signage, change it today. Make the world a little more efficient for all human beings and a little more accepting to people of all genders and forms of gender expression.

Boy vs. Girl: Episode 25 - Income in Dating, Mansplaining, and Tallywackers

In this week's episode, Rachel and I discuss income as a determining factor in dating, the ridiculousness of mansplaining, and our thoughts on the new restaurant Tallywackers and public nudity.

I tell Rachel that her boobs are not very special. It's great.

You can listen here or - better yet - subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store or wherever you get your podcasts.

And if you like the show, please consider leaving a review on iTunes. It helps readers find the show, and it makes me feel even better about myself.

Boy vs. Girl: Episode 11 - New Year's Resolutions, Driving, and I WAS GROPED ON THE POLAR EXPRESS!

Episode 11 of Boy vs. Girl features a discussion of New Year's Resolutions (and Rachel's ridiculous resolution), the question over whether men or women are better drivers, and the story about how I was groped by a woman as I was disembarking the polar express, about ten feet from Santa Claus. 

You can listen here or subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store or wherever you get your podcasts. 


Boy vs. Girl: Episode 3 - Gender-Neutral Bathrooms, Salutations, and Bathing Suit Bottoms

Episode 3 of Boy Vs. Girl, our podcast about gender and gender stereotypes, dropped today. Listen to Rachel and I discuss the problems with gender neutral bathroom, the need to change female salutations, and the real reasons why women wear form-fitting bathing suit bottoms and men do not.

If you've missed any of our previous episodes, you can find them here

You can subscribe to Boy vs. Girl in iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts or listen below in Soundcloud.

If you like what you hear, please consider leaving us a review in iTunes. Reviews help listeners find the podcast, and the more listeners we have, the more likely Rachel and I will become ridiculously wealthy and be able to spend our days lounging on a Tahitian beach. 

The Wizard of Oz versus Star Wars

Late last week I “stirred up a hornet’s nest” by writing a piece arguing that the reason Hasbro markets Easy Bake Ovens solely to girls is because the vast majority of children who want an Easy Bake Oven are girls, and the company has no obligation to the minority of boys who might want one.

This was not a chicken-or-egg debate over why more girls prefer the Easy Bake Oven than boys (though some wanted to make it one). I was simply arguing the logic behind Hasbro’s decision from a business perspective.  

But the chicken-or-egg debate is an interesting one as well, and one worth discussing. In terms of why more girls than boys prefer this toy, I thought this TED Talk was the perfect place to begin thinking about the issue:

Sorry, kid. Easy Bake Ovens are pink for good reason.

Around Christmas, a little girl became a momentary Internet sensation after appealing to Hasbro to make an Easy Bake Oven in a color other than pink or purple. Her brother had expressed a desire for an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas but discovered that this product only comes in pink and purple and is therefore only marketed to girls (though one could debate the gender-specificity of the color purple).

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The problem is not the color of the toy.

The real problem is that this little boy is one of only three or four boys in the entire country who wants an Easy Bake Oven.

While this may be an exaggeration, I am not far from the truth. Easy Bake Ovens are geared towards little girls because the vast majority of the children wanting an Easy Bake Oven are girls. While the choice of color and advertising may represent gender inequality, it is also reflection of the gender inequality that is inherently present in boys and girls when it comes to this toy.

For the vast majority of children, girls want Easy Bake Ovens and boys do not. While it is unfortunate that the tiny percentage of boys who want an Easy Bake Oven are forced into choosing from pink or purple, Hasbro knows full well that red or brown or blue Easy Bake Ovens would sit on store shelves gathering dust, regardless of their marketing.

It also costs considerably more to expand a product into multiple colors, and the management of production and stock levels would become much more complex. In this case, Hasbro knows that the vast majority of its Easy Bake Oven customers prefer the colors pink and purple, so they are simply maximizing profits by accommodating their primary consumer.

I made a similar argument in regards to an advertising campaign by Carter’s clothing that targets mothers, and I was right then as well. Companies must market to their primary consumer, and try as they might, some products simply skew along gender lines.

Mothers are the primary purchasers of baby clothing. Moreover, they want to be the primary purchasers of baby clothing. 

Similarly, little girls want Easy Bake Ovens.

Some might argue that if Hasbro began marketing products like this to boys, they might broaden their consumer base, but I don’t believe this for a second, and I suspect that Hasbro has done enough research already to know this as well. After all, if it were possible to convince boys that the Easy Bake Oven is a great toy for them as well, why wouldn’t Hasbro attempt to capture that market as well?

It amounts to a chicken-and-egg argument:

Do girls like Easy Bake Ovens because they are pink and purple, or are Easy Bake Ovens pink and purple because girls like them?

Before you answer, ask yourself this:

If Easy Bake Ovens were originally produced in black or brown or gray, would boys be their primary market today? Would the pretend-to-cook market have skewed male by this change in color?

Of course not. Like it or not, girls are more likely to enjoy baking and pretending to bake than boys.

Hasbro is merely acting responsibly to its shareholders by maximizing advertising revenue. The company has no responsibility to promote gender equality, especially when the gender equality would be impossible to achieve and yield no greater profit for the company.

If you truly believe that boys would love an Easy Bake Oven if marketed properly, give it a try. Launch your own toy company. Make your fortune.

If you find a way to make a profit, I will admit that I am wrong and work in your factory for a week for free.

If I’m right, I’ll merely say I told you so.

It’s often reward enough for me.