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.