Very Strange, Manipulative News Story About A Urinal

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Here is the urinal in question:

Now here is the full text of this story, entitled “McDonald’s removes mouth-shaped urinals,” bolded in the regular font, with my questions and comments interspersed in italics:

AMSTERDAM : A McDonald’s fast-food outlet in the south east of the Netherlands has agreed to remove urinals that are shaped liked wide-open red lips.

The decision was taken after a shocked American customer complained to the McDonald’s head office in the US.

A McDonald’s that thought this urinal was a perfectly fine fixture before is now going to remove them because ONE customer complained? I’ve complained about McDonald’s bathrooms before, usually because they are filthy and lack toilet paper, and gotten no response whatsoever. Obviously next time I need to contact the aptly named “head office.”

Owner Giel Pijper said on Wednesday that the bright red, mouth-shaped urinals, named ‘Kisses’, are works of art. But a different view is taken of them in America. The urinals are being removed and will be sold off. “I’m not going to harp on about a pair of urinals,” he said.

Because Americans who do not like peeing into works of art are philistines? Given that the McDonald’s in question is in Amsterdam, who cares what the “view..taken of them in America” (as evidenced by one complaining customer) is?

Virgin Airways was forced to scrap plans in 2004 to install two of the ‘Kisses’ at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport after complaints they looked like women’s mouth.

Virgin was “forced” to “scrap plans” by “complaints they looked like women’s mouth”? What the heck does that even mean? What complainers had the power to “force” an airline not to install a particular kind of urinal? And we are supposed to believe that if the urinals were perceived as gender neutral mouths, no one would have objected? Well, at least not those evil feminists?

They are the work of Dutch woman Meike van Schijndel. She is the designer at the Utrecht-based firm Bathroom Mania! Speaking to Expatica in 2004, she said the urinals were designed as a fun cartoon mouth and not as a woman’s mouth.

She stressed that the idea her urinals represented a man peeing into a woman’s mouth never occurred to her, nor to many men and women she had spoken to. Her company was inundated with orders after the Virgin Airlines controversy, Van Schijndel said.

Okay, the article worked in the fact that the urinal designer is female, which I guess is supposed to prove there is nothing sexist about the urinal, or something. She claims the urinals are “cartoon” mouths and not “women’s mouths” (because cartoon characters are never women?) and she is shocked and dismayed by the very idea that anyone could think using the urinals for their intended purpose constituted peeing into a female mouth. Luckily there was a huge upside for her after the Virgin Airlines “controversy” in terms of an inundation of urinal orders and maybe, just maybe, the same thing could, completely coincidentally of course, happen after the McDonald’s “controversy” is widely publicized.

Oh yeah, and here is a linked “related article” entitled “Orders flow in after ‘lips urinal’ controversy,” futher demonstrating that sparking purchases is the entire point of this press coverage.

–Ann Bartow

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0 Responses to Very Strange, Manipulative News Story About A Urinal

  1. How could it never have occurred to the artist that “her urinals represented a man peeing into a woman’s mouth?” How bizarre.

  2. Ann Bartow says:

    Like you, I’m rather cynical on that point. Also, when is the last time you saw a MALE cartoon character, or even a gender neutral one, with a mouth like that?