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Mouth Shaped Urinal: Art or Offense?

Mouth Shaped Urinal: Art or Offense?

They often say that art is in the eye of the beholder.  In this case, though, it seems like the real target is a woman’s mouth, and a lot of people are taking offense to the work. From the Canadian Press:

A urinal shaped like a woman’s wide-open mouth has been flushed out of the men’s room of a Hamilton eatery following a nearly year-long public outcry.

The glossy, red-lipped loo at The Honest Lawyer restaurant sparked a letter writing campaign that attracted almost 1,100 people, including Ontario’s NDP leader and Hamilton’s mayor.

Some people argued the “Kisses! urinal” — manufactured by Bathroom Mania! in the Netherlands — was art or just a joke.

The Woman Abuse Working Group, a coalition of 24 organizations, disagreed and led efforts to oust what it considered to be an offensive water closet.

Frankly, it’s hard to find anything “artsy” or “funny” about the urinal.  If it were in fact some sort of artistic design, it wouldn’t be functional, and if it were just a joke, it wouldn’t have been back in the men’s bathroom, but out in public for everyone to get their giggles from.

This urinal, and others designed in a similar style, have been removed or thwarted in venues all over the world, including Vienna, The Netherlands, and even John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, where Virgin Airway considered adding a few to their lounge.  The manufacturer’s website calls the urinals “…one target men will never miss.”

So why exactly would designers and fans consider a giant, passive, open woman’s mouth to be anything but offensive and degrading?  If it were a trash can, would people be ok with stuffing a woman’s mouth full of refuse?  Isn’t setting her up for an endless money shot going even further?

More than 600 women are victims of sexual violence every day.  We don’t need to add this “art” to the cadre of violent sexual images we see daily as if they are no big deal.

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434 comments

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1:51PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

I think it is ludicrous to ask the question of how we know they are women's mouths. Just look at them. They are shaped like women's mouths and they are heavily lipsticked. As to the question of what about if they are black women's mouths, I think that is up to the beholder. As far as I know, black women wear lipstick and have the same shape mouths as do white women. Do I find them offensive? I certainly do. They are demeaning to women, and I am glad they are being removed.

7:48PM PDT on Sep 25, 2011

I keep waiting for Mick Jagger and the Stones to sue for copyright infringements. 'For The Rolling Stones, Pasche designed the "Tongue and Lip Design" logo in 1971, which was originally reproduced on the Sticky Fingers album.' Wikipedia

9:52AM PDT on Sep 24, 2011

roy a
all that we know is that they are meant to be the mouths of women - they are heavily lipsticked and they are a part of social consciousness.
if they were obviously the faces of black people then there would be an outcry, but as they are obviously meant to be the mouths of women, there is little.

the irony is that you appeal to a lack of prejudice, while showing just that.

5:14AM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

http://www.bathroom-mania.com/en/enwho/endesign.html but but but?

9:04PM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

So, how exactly did we know that these were women's mouths?http://www.motifake.com/image/demotivational-poster/0910/mouth-urinals-demotivational-poster-1256257155.jpg

12:43PM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

To all who have remarked on my comments on the toilet article I think you all should go back and read it again. I made the comment at 7:24 A.M. on June 10, 2010. If you read the article you will see that there was nothing I wrote that would hurt people . I don't know where your reading but it's a year AFTER I wrote my comment and the things you mentioned were NEVER written or THOUGHT OF! When you critique a comment make sure you have the right person, the right year and the correct comment.

6:46AM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

"what if there were urinals and toilets in the shape of black people with their mouths open?"

How do you know those aren't black peoples mouths? Why do you just assume they're white women's mouths? Can't black men wear lipstick? You white people are all racist!

(FYI, the above is a joke employing the tactic of irony. Learn more about irony here: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/irony)

6:31AM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

what if there were urinals and toilets in the shape of black people with their mouths open?
would that just be white people "having their fun"?
that would be perfectly OK, right?
would you claim that black people who complained were "white haters"?

if it isn't OK when it is white and black, then why is it OK when it is male and female?

2:08AM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

If they have one shaped like Eric Cantors face so I can do my dooty I say let the fun begin!

2:03AM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

I forgot to add something. I dont see anything wrong with it. Let guys enjoying it. Even if someone who have depression problem. Let guys enjoying it for the moment sakes. other things, I dont feel right for boy children to be in the bathroom to see this things. If you know what I mean?

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Julie M. Rodriguez Julie M. Rodriguez is an arts, green living, and political writer based in San Mateo, CA. Her work... more
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